Patient Zero

Day 20: December 31

Start the day early. It’s the last one in 2013 after all.

And hey, this was a big year for you. You experienced friendship and love, heartbreak and lasting confusion, and beautiful renewal and clarity. It was all confusing and exciting. Seriously, take a moment to think about that.

But then get moving. Because it’s 10am, and you still have 47.5 things on your “Gonna Finish in 2013” list. (Oh and ignore that cough and the tickle in your throat. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.)

Go shopping. Decide you need a new rug. And new book shelves. And blank canvases for your walls. Chalk it up to “fresh starts” and wanting to make your “outsides fit your insides.” (Note: you may want to revisit this with the “materialism” lens soon. Because you do this more than is probably necessary.)

By 5pm, realize that the tickle in your throat is building into something mean. Drink tea but ignore what feels like fever. It’s just you moving around…or something.

Bring in the new year with two of the greatest people in your life. Talk about the ways 2014 is going to be different, recognizing the cliche quality of your goals. But mean them anyway. Because fresh starts are gifts to be excited about.

Celebrate the evening like three single ladies should: with a Walking Dead. Continue getting sicker. And grosser. Really lean into that cough. And please, by all means, keep avoiding medicine in favor of champagne.

Decide to call it a night shortly after midnight when you start to sway–not from the one glass of champagne but from the 100+ fever you’re still ignoring–because maybe you should “get a little rest” so you don’t “actually get sick.” You know, just in case.

Decided that you’ll all meet back here first thing in the morning to watch the mid-season finale and celebrate the new year with brunch. Say bye to one friend and set the other up on the couch before you collapse in your bed.

Close the night with the friend from the couch asking you to lock your bedroom door because she’s slightly concerned you’re patient zero and worries you’ll turn in your sleep and try to attack her.

Do it, because it’s a fair point.

Translation: Twenty-five is buying stuff you don’t need because you think if things look different, maybe you’ll be able to pinpoint just what’s been on the tip of your tongue. Maybe you’ll be able to articulate all that needs to be said. And if not, at least your books will look great on those new shelves!

And ignoring a building flu in favor of spending the evening building hypothetical zombie apocalypse teams with your friends. Because those things are important.


Day 21: January 1

Wake up to the sounds of someone in your living room. Freak out a little bit because you’ve forgotten you let someone crash on your couch. Go for the weapon: Miss Scarlet, in the bedroom, with the scrap of PVC pipe.

(Scarlet, huh? We think a little highly of ourselves when feverish do we?)

Remember your friend. Put the pipe down. Don’t mention the pipe to her. She still sees you as patient zero.

Watch that mid-season finale of the Walking Dead. And completely flip out about it. Because. I mean. On the one hand, you saw it coming. It is The Walking Dead. But on the other hand, what the heck? Why can’t they just get along and fight the zombies together for once?

Go to brunch. Discuss your disgust with The Dead. Discuss 2014. Order fried oysters. Because the Louisiana in you can’t see it on a menu and not get it.

Feel your body temperature climb until you think you might pass out. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. See your whiter-than-normal reflection in the mirror and brace yourself against the fancy sink. Dude. Do not pass out in here. That is not the way to start 2014.

Return to the table and explain that it’s time to go. You’ve accepted that, maybe, just maybe, you’re a little sick.

Spend the next seven hours on the couch. Wake up not knowing who or where you are. (Don’t take any medicine though–because that would be ridiculous! Just keep telling yourself you just need rest. That’ll work.)

Happy new year!

Translation: Twenty-five is having brunch with people that matter even if it almost kills you. Because they saved 2013 for you. And oysters are delicious. And coffee can turn [almost] any day around.

Oh, and twenty-five also means being extremely stubborn and foolish. Spoiler alert: you can’t ignore the flu without serious repercussions.


Writer’s Note: This post is part of a larger series called “Learning Twenty-Five.”