X-Ray

The x-ray man at four in the morning is not happy. By not happy I mean not pleasant. By not pleasant I mean grumpy. I am shivering and I cannot breathe. No, the admitting nurse said. You can breathe. If you couldn’t breathe you wouldn’t be able to talk. Since you can talk you can breathe. You’re having difficulty breathing. Okay, fine. I’m not medically correct in my language. I’m tired. I’m sick. I have a fever of a hundred and three. No, a hundred and one, the nurse says. The IV goes in. I have pneumonia. No, walking pneumonia, the doctor says. I leave at sunrise. I walk home. I text my girlfriend. No, not my girlfriend. A girl I am seeing. Can you bring some groceries? I say. I have pneumonia. No, walking pneumonia. I will order you some groceries, she says. I will have them delivered. I don’t want to get sick. Forget it, I say. I’ll take care of myself. No, that’s not what I meant, she says. I didn’t mean it that way. I lie back in bed. I sleep. No, I cannot sleep. I look at my phone. Xo, she says. Xo.