Nursemaid

Sick alone and suddenly I’m reminded of my mother picking me up in junior high and holding my feverish hand walking me to the doctor’s, grandmother’s homemade congee steaming in the porcelain bowl, her mouth blowing a spoonful to cool, my grandfather putting his cheek to mine to deduce whether the cough that rattles me is from a common cold or the dreaded flu, nights of vomiting and lying in bed ill and never having to get up to change the waste bin, the sour smell never there for long, chased out, and quiet murmurs trickling in that check on me in bed, my bedroom door easing closed before I could even catch a glimpse of the family guard whose shift it was today, in the days when I didn’t ask to know who nursed me, sure there would always be someone on the other side.