I wake up, and it feels like a productive cough. I am pleased as thick phlegm comes up.
But then hours later, it is dry again. The itch in my throat refuses to back down. I coax it with hot tea, lemon, and honey. It comes back. Maybe I don’t notice it at first. It’s a small reaction. A clearing of the throat. The stillness of the moment. But then I began hacking. The itch takes over everything. Then I attempt to douse it with medications. But then it comes back at full force, angry. Cough drop. Water. Hot tea. Please, I think, memories of poor timing of the cough attacks come rushing back in the student library right before finals, right in the middle of an argument (where I was right, of course), and during an important presentation. I tell it, Please recover soon. Please return to where you once were. Just don’t do it during the important conversation. The itch recedes. The air echoes down my throat into my lungs. And the fear recedes. For now.