Once long ago (1980?) I was this sick and for this long. It was over a Christmas and New Years, so my mom was really angry with me for being ill. “You always get sick at Christmas!”

It began when I was out for supper with a friend. When we met up, I was fine. We went to the bookstore next door to the restaurant, and as I was standing looking at a book by Nikos Kazantzakis, I began seeing rainbows around the words in the title. I knew what was coming and just kind of relaxed into the weirdness of it. I managed work — I was a paralegal at a large law firm — Β the next two days, then we had Christmas holiday. I spent the next day in bed, and the next, and I would have spent the next but it was Christmas Eve.

Toward the end of the illness my boyfriend’s parents called from Chicago to ask me to meet them in Aspen to ski. “You don’t even have to buy your lift ticket, honey,” said my boyfriend’s dad. The boyfriend was in Saudi Arabia teaching English.

I couldn’t go. I knew it would be great, greater than any ski vacation, that it would make skiing great again, but I wasn’t strong enough. I knew I’d have a relapse.

I had to turn it down. I couldn’t even feel remorse over that I was so tired of being barely able to breathe, think, anything.

Exactly two weeks after the initial rainbows, I was well. I got up from a nap and started painting. This was extraordinary because I had not painted in that way ever in my life. I had an odd collection of media, too, and ended up painting with watercolor, acrylic and linoleum printing ink. I did three paintings that afternoon.


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