It was the morning of our anniversary. The sun had yet to rise, the kids were still sound asleep, and my husband and I were both clinging to the sides of our bed in agony. I had been up all night tending to my daughter who had been repeatedly sick in her bed, and now it appeared that my husband and I were destined to suffer the same fate.
“Happy anniversary,” I grumbled.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Dennis said, as he launched himself from our bed and rushed downstairs. I knew I wouldn’t be far behind, but I felt too weak to move.
It wasn’t long before I heard loud, pitiful moaning accompanied by calls for help. It seemed I wasn’t meant to stay in bed after all. I crawled downstairs expecting to find my husband half dead on the toilet.
“Help,” came a muffled voice from behind the bathroom door. “I don’t know what to do!”
I opened the door and peeked in just as my husband came barreling out. “I’m not going to make it,” he yelled, as he collapsed on the stairs. “I need a bowl,” he wailed.
I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a giant, stainless steel bowl, tossed it in the general direction of the stairs, then dashed to the bathroom to be sick myself. A few minutes later a low, guttural moan could be heard coming from the other side of the door. I crawled out into the hallway to investigate.
My husband’s head hung deep inside the bowl, as strange sounds began to emerge from his body. I watched in awe as he began to heave, his entire body convulsing while simultaneously emitting growling, foghorn like sounds. Then, as he began to throw up in earnest, I couldn’t help but wonder if the high pitched screeching sounds he was now making were similar to the sounds an injured animal makes before it dies.
“Did you lose a lung?” I gasped when he finished, still uncertain as to what I was witnessing.
“Fug,” he growled, hugging the bowl tighter.
I made my way into the living room and curled up on the couch in the fetal position. A while later Dennis and his bowl came crawling in.
“What was that sound you were making?” I asked, semi-fearfully.
“I love Bowl,” he mumbled.
“Was it some kind of Male Cry for Help?” I persisted. “A sort of warning system you have built in to warn all females in the area that you are in distress?”
He moaned and rolled over.
“You have the Man Flu, don’t you?” I said accusingly. “I mean, we obviously both have the stomach flu, but yours is the man version, isn’t it?”
“I’m weak,” he whispered. “I’m not going to make it.”
“I think we have our answer,” I sighed.
Eventually the children spilled downstairs, curious to find us semi-conscious and draped awkwardly across the furniture. The rest of the day passed in a fog, yet somehow we all survived. We found ourselves back in bed by 7:30 that night, the kids tucked in, all lights turned out.
“Happy anniversary,” I said to my husband for the second time that day.
“Happy anniversary,” he replied. “I think I nearly died today.”
“I know you did sweetheart,” I soothed. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” he mumbled as he drifted off to sleep.