Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

I managed to travel all fall without catching a cold, and then this bitter, deep winter weather, and five weeks of school — and yet here we are: me and a headcold. On paper, I am not a fan. Ugh, the fuzziness, the aches, the chills, the runny nose, the imminent tickling cough. More than this, a corner of my brain whines, But I can’t affooooooord this! Most of the time, my life works the way that cornering hard on a motorcycle works: I’ll get through as long as I don’t slow down. And when something does force me to slam on the brakes, it worries me: is this when I slide out?

But while I am in the cold, all this goes away. I drink hot ginger lemonade and eat whatever I like: Thai chicken soup, barbeque, vegan marshmallows by the bowlful. I sleep in my clothes if I feel like it; I take two naps in a row if I can. I know the world is howling outside, but here, inside, my cold and I turn on all the lights and watch Yuri on Ice again, until I eventually decide that half a tumbler of bourbon is exactly the same thing as Nyquil, or worth a shot anyway, and I sleep at last. Tomorrow or the next day, I will feel better (though I will sound much worse), and I can catch up then.