Sickness kept the girl in my bed. As soon as she felt healthy enough, she got up and left and I wouldn’t see her again. It’s odd when you have a guest in your home that clearly wants to go. That must be the same feeling a boss has when catching an employee staring at the clock. I think that’s why they have clocks in office buildings. Not to tell time, but instead to act as a constant reminder to all of the employers of the world that the people working for them are always, regardless of how content they may seem, waiting to leave.
The sick girl and I were only supposed to have Christmas brunch together, but then she got sick and I took her back to my apartment to sleep. Over waffles, fruit, and yogurt, she had already started to tell me what I knew was coming. She didn’t want me around anymore. This message was put on hold, though, when she got weak and couldn’t raise her head. So off to the apartment we went, where she could recover and, her health and energy returned, kick my ass to the curb.
I spent most of Christmas day in my dark apartment, reading about North and South Korea while the sick girl slept. The day before, the South Korean military drills ended. The tanks and the planes went back to their bedrooms to rest. The talk coming from both sides was a bit worrying, North Korea using the words “sacred war” and President Lee warning that another North Korean attack would result in a massive counterattack. Both sides seemed to be moving towards a war neither side really wanted. I looked at the sick girl and thought about how a nuclear bomb could fall from the sky and incinerate us in seconds. It’s hard to fathom being blown to smithereens before consciously understanding exactly what has happened. I wondered if there would be a sound or a blinding red glow in the moments before I would be turned into a small pile of dust that might later be mistaken for another dead Asian.
My friends called me, wanting me to meet them out, but I couldn’t. It didn’t seem like the right thing to do, to leave the sick girl alone in my apartment like that. I’m a man of class. I don’t leave sick-girls-on-the-verve-of-kicking-me-out-of-their-lives unattended to. I’d just sit around for the remainder of Christmas and if she needed soup or a drink of juice, I’d get it for her. The plug was already pulled on my Christmas lights, metaphorically speaking. There were no presents, no calls from home, no “Merry Christmas!” emails from family. There was only a girl who wanted to leave but couldn’t, and two countries wondering how to destroy each other.
Now that the holiday and the girl are both long gone, I find myself wondering why I stayed in that situation all night. It wasn’t like I was going to change the girl’s mind. I guess it’s just nice to feel important sometimes. Perhaps that was the girl’s Christmas gift to me. For that one day, doing my best nurse impression, I got to feel as though somebody needed me. I celebrated, in a way, in that boyish delusion, while the girl celebrated in the quiet of sleep, dreaming about whatever it is that sick girls dream of.