Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 46


Antiviral medication does not work on Influenzas A. Jack’s fever went all the way to 103 degrees. He’s a six-one, a big strong man. He’s never experienced a sickness this bad as an adult. It’s been three days of constant care. It’s the fifth day he’s been sick, and I thanked God this morning when he sweated through the bedding. His fever has finally broken.

I’ve Lysoled the pillows and threw them in the dryer. I cracked open windows and changed the sheets when he’s showered. He ate some soup while I disinfected the bathroom, doorknobs, his phone, laptop, the remotes, everything. He teased me then passed out. If he sleeps today, tomorrow, and hopefully, gets out of the bedroom, he’ll start feeling human again.

His phone keeps vibrating on his bedside table. After the fourth time, I pick it up to see it’s Eli. “Jack, Eli keeps calling you, can you speak to him? Can you wake up long enough?” I giggle when he kisses my hand on his shoulder.

“Give it here, sweet Annie.”

I hand him his phone, and he answers with a gruff, “Yeah.”

He listens, “Really, Thursday. Thank God it’s moving along at this pace. Tell Annie the details. Bye.”

He sighs, closes his eyes, and hands me the phone.

“Hi, Eli,” I whisper. I cover Jack up and go out to sit in the kitchen.

“Hey, Annie. Great news, breaking ground Friday. You two need to get up here tomorrow for the Thursday night ribbon cutting with city officials.”

“Oh, he’s not going to be able to leave tomorrow, Eli. He still has a low-grade fever, and I don’t think you realize how sick he was this week. Adults shouldn’t, and rarely get high fevers like that, let alone for days at a time, and it just broke today. Friday is a—”

He cuts me off, “I don’t mean to sound like a dick, but people work sick all the time, Annie. He’s over the worse of it, he’s healthy, in shape, not a disabled child for fuck sakes.”

His comment takes my breath away. I flood with emotions. I’m embarrassed for thinking I know what’s best for a grown man, but that was a dick thing to say. It hurt, and it felt like he belittled my life, but what he said was true.

“Of course, Eli. Thanks for telling me the news. It’s obviously up to Jack what Jack does. I’ll have him call you back when he wakes up. Bye.”

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