Tate woke up at his usual time to leave for work the other day. Usually he’s quiet and respectful of my beauty sleep, unless he knows it’s Tuesday and that we usually don’t get out of bed until 8:30. Then he’s loud and does the whole slamming doors shut and turning on lights while pretending he can’t find his boxer shorts.
This particular day was Wednesday, though, and he was doing a lot of throat clearing and some ridiculously pitiful semi-moaning. After hearing him not so quietly closing closet doors and not so quietly rooting through his sock drawer, I peeked my head out from under the covers and asked him through clenched teeth, “What’s wrong, honey?”
“I’m sick. I feel terrible,” he managed to say weakly. Moan, moan, woe is me, woe is me, blah, blah, blah.
“Oh. Sorry to hear that. Feel better soon,” I replied flatly. I’m an asshole, okay? I’m 50% of the reason that our marriage isn’t perfect. (Tate is the other 50%, he is also an asshole.)
I closed my eyes and went back to sleep for the two minutes before my alarm sounded, got out of bed, and promptly forgot all about Tate’s complaint of being sick.
Now in all fairness, Tate can be a bit of a drama queen. It gets particularly noticeable when he’s sick and I, being an asshole AND a very weary mother of two small children, don’t have a lot of patience for his whining and his needs. He has a history of blowing little head colds and minor illnesses way out of proportion.
So I’d forgotten all about his “illness” until 5:00 when he called me from work to say, pitifully, that he was on his way home. I realize that calling at 5:00 doesn’t seem particularly significant, but OH YOU WOULD BE WRONG. Tate very rarely leaves work before 6:30 or 7, he might if it’s a Friday and things are running well, or he might if his family is coming into town, but he NEVER comes home early on a random Wednesday in the middle of the week.
I still wasn’t fully convinced that his illness was little more than a cough and a headache. I quickly updated Twitter (because that’s what you do in times of fake crisis).
Further evidence for my assholishness.
When he got home, his face was grimaced and he sounded weak. He slowly trudged to the bedroom and laid down on the bed. I felt his head and he seemed to actually have a fever, a really high fever.
“I’ll try not to complain too much,” he said as I gave him his Advil and glass of water.
The next day he went to work, but at 1:00 (1:00!!??!!) he called and said that he was on his way home because he was just so sick. He actually didn’t do his over the top, pitiful “Woe is me, I’m so sick” routine. He just really sounded like he was actually SICK.
Never in 11 1/2 years of his working life, had he come home that early due to illness. He immediately went to bed and slept for the whole afternoon.
I think that maybe, just maybe, Tate wasn’t exaggerating this time.