lets s(t)ick together
By: Autumn Smith
As Fela explained, this week I finally "met" her for the first time.
It's weird, our friendship was so close before this trip that I didn't really think it would make a difference. We talk literally all day everyday and we FaceTime and Skype all the time. We don't do it like normal people, we carry each other (in our iPhones) around the house while we make dinner, go to the bathroom (gross), and while we can barely open our eyes and talk with pain. Everyone was asking me if I thought it would be weird to meet, and I didn't at all. And it wasn't weird, not in the slightest.
I picked her up deep in the city of Chicago, three hours away from my house. Like I said before, it wasn't strange at all seeing her in person, but I was simply TICKLED and shocked at how miniature of a human she was. I think this means I am officially Endotwin Senior and she is Li'l Junior. Just to be clear.
We started our drive to my tiny Central Illinois town immediately so we could beat the traffic. We did not beat the traffic. After stopping and starting and stopping and starting approximately 458 times, our laughter slowed as she had to rush to find something for me to puke in. She didn't, and I had to pull over to put on a puke show on the side of the road. Luckily, the laughter never really ended up stopping and I had to rush to find something for her to pee in. It didn't work, and after both of us repeating the puke-to-pee cycle about five times, we were truly a beautiful disaster. No one would have let me try to take this trip the day I tripled my blood pressure medication, and no one would have wanted her in a car with them with a huge mass on her bladder causing her to pee every five minutes. But we didn't mind. It was so normal for us and so, so comforting. I wasn't a burden to her and she wasn't a burden to me.
As soon as the moment she stepped into my home, it was hers as well. She fit in the deep couch dents I've made and my pets loved how immobile and willing to cuddle she was, just like me. The most beautiful thing I experienced on this trip was waking up, having the awful feeling of "fuck, my whole body hurts, this is going to be a bad day," and looking over at her with the worst grimace just for her to say aloud, "I FEEL LIKE SHIT". It was the most calming feeling in the world. It made me feel like I was normal, and actually made me want to take on the day. It was going to take her just as long and just as much effort.
She met my family, and they loved her. She has always already been the "other one" with endometriosis, she's the other one they worry and pray for. We tried to do fun activities and succeeded, failed, succeeded, repeat. We forced each other to take meds when we needed them, to drink water, to chug caffeine, to stretch, to sit, to breathe. It was so easy. My boyfriend was unfortunately out of town (he already loves her as much as I do) but it was nice because we could sick-it-up all over my apartment without disturbing him. I napped, she rested, and we ate healthy meals at strange times. We tried strange fruits at 3 am and took pictures like she was never coming back. I did her eyeliner on pain meds and she looked like a clown. Sick never sleeps.
The day she left we were rushed and trying to enjoy the day. We got matching tattoos and I tried to calm her when the stress of traveling set in. I'm a very chill person and I can normally see the positive in any situation. The idea of her going home wasn't terrible because she'll be back soon and we'll still talk everyday. I don't miss my friends often, I love them all so much but I understand that it's hard to see each other when I'm sick so often. But that's where this was different. It WASN'T hard. I never once felt like I needed alone time at my house, and that is very rare. It's not at all that I love Fela more than my other friends and family, but it's the fact that I can so easily COEXIST side by side with her that makes me wish we could be near each other all the time. No worries of being a burden and I couldn't scare her if I tried.
All I can think about now is that every single sufferer of a chronic disease needs this kind of friendship. It's past the point of making me feel more normal, I know I'm not normal. But we are not normal together. Not just Fela and I, but every single one of us. LET'S S(T)ICK TOGETHER.