It is called the pompous sickness — the spell which hushes the household, with its desert-like stillness felt through its innermost chambers. One in a world unto herself, her own theater.
A severe fit of indisposition, under the name of a fall from dignity, amounting to a deposition that made me a prisoner of myself — in pain and grief, for some weeks now.
But the state of sickness is but a magnificent dream.
To lie in bed, with the daylight curtains drawn to shut out the sun, in total oblivion of all the works going under it. You become insensible of all the operations of life, except the beating of your feeble pulse. No one ever lays down without a feeling of disappointment.
In the regal solitude of the sick bed (where caprices do not have control over the catalogue of moans and strong armor of sickness, wrapped in the callous hide of suffering), sympathy and correct compassion seem to be your only rise and not to be insulted with soothing fictions.
Then, as you backtrack, you recall that morning sickness. It will be months again before you can see your toes.
Strapped down and delivered into a place where pain winces off the walls, the doctor bears down (like a foreman to this sweating laborer), forcing one life out of another.
It is something I’ve signed up for, at that moment when I would have signed anything!
“Give it up!” says a bad wit.
“She’s crowning,” the doctor says. But there’s no one royal — only this barefoot peasant, greeting a barefoot infant.
In that riddle of sickness, how can anything so beautiful come from so much pain?
But the heart will lead and the head will explain, for the common pathway is the heart, whatever may be. And what matters is how the human spirit is spent: every morning is a day of joy, a reason to rejoice.
Yet to be sick is to enjoy monarchal prerogatives.
From the bed of sickness, to the elbow chair of healing, a scene of one’s regalities. Hushed are those mysterious sighs, with groans that are so much more awful. One does not know from what caverns of vast, hidden sufferings they proceeded.
And into this flat swamp of healing (left by the ebb of sickness yet far enough from the terrains of established health) notes, requests, summons and deadlines reach me.
The quibble relieves me, for it seemed to link me again to the petty business of life, which I had lost sight of — a gentle call to activity, however trivial, awakens once more from the preposterous dream of self-absorption and sickness in which I have stayed long and had spread over.
The riddle of sickness that swells contemplation of one’s single suffering, wasted to a span of giant self-importance, of which I was lately.
Now, I am once again in my natural pretensions—the same old woman: a lean and meager figure of your insignificant columnist—writing occasional sentences that shimmer on its own, with freedom in expressing whatever narcissistic non sense that would come within one’s kin, taking pleasure in the show or rapid movements of my pen as I write with my hand.
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