I was five years old the first time I had pneumonia. Every opening in my body was clogged and oozing. Being only five, I wondered if this was what dying felt like. But it was OK, because I knew that I'd be up and running around again in another week or so.
I guess the reason this time was different is that I know that it might not all turn out OK. My own body was rebelling against me; food, and sometimes even drink, I would vomit back up; walking was out of the question; hacking coughs that felt like I might cough up my very lung tissue shook me; I was lucky to get four hours of sleep in a day.
Something about seeing blood come up from the respiratory tract scared me. Blood was not supposed to be there. It is not natural.
Two weeks into the illness, I'd lost over 10 pounds. All I could do was stare at the ceiling, waiting for the next rib-cracking cough. I began to wonder what I was waiting for- recovery or death. Though I knew many people pull through this, I wanted to give up. There is no reason I should endure this just to have more similar trials in the future. My resolution to live was dimming rapidly.
I think I hallucinated (either that or extremely vivid dreams) a few times in there. I saw Eva, and, although I tried desperately to make contact, she refused to speak with or look at me. I cried, for she was here after so much time, but still so far away.
This went on for about another week before I started to show signs of recovery. Food started to go down; I could wobble short distances.
I see someone I never wanted to see again in the mirror. She's gaunt, well below normal weight. Grey-tinged eyes stare at me, blank and hollow. Welcome back, Mariah, she almost seems to say. I've been waiting silently all this time for you to return.
And then I realize she is me, and I am gone. And I know I won't come back. If I wasn't so weak, I would have smashed the mirror into a million sharp pieces and drove them like nails into my body. Instead, I sit and weep. I don't know why really, for I am numb once again. I am, in all but biology, dead.
This is a state I used to know well, but have grown slightly out of touch with.