Nobody’s a fool
“Emm, I have a problem.”
“What is it, Cas?”
“I have a headache.” Casey replied in a most dramatic way.
“Cas, headaches are common, why is that a problem?”
“Because I think it has to do with my ingrown toenail.” At the other end of the line, Emm was trying very hard not to burst into laughter. She always tried to show empathy whenever Casey communicated symptoms of illnesses she never had. However, sometimes the task was very difficult and it depended on the absurdity of the illness in comparison to whatever situation Emm, who was a nurse practitioner, was contemplating at her work place, the Annandale Regional Hospital.
“Cas, didn’t you go to the podiatrist last week to take care of your toe nail?”
“Yes, but I could have an infection.”
“It’s been a week since you’ve had the procedure, and you’ve made me look at it every day, and it’s been fine. Why will it not be today?”
“Because of the headache? I don’t know, you are the doctor.”
“Nurse practitioner, and no. Headaches are normal and could be due to many things like for example, have you been outside with clients today?” Casey was going to reply, but couldn’t because Emm continued. “Maybe you are suffering from your seasonal allergies, or it might be stress from working with a client, or from talking to some of those characters in your office.”
“Well, it might be work related now that you mention it.” Casey was dreading telling Emm what she had to tell her, but she couldn’t do it over the phone. “Anyway, I have to go now. I’ll talk to you at home.”
“Okay.” Umm, I wonder what that was all about?
When Emm arrived home, Casey was already there. “Hi, baby. How was your day?”
“I’m exhausted. We had more patients today than normal. There was some sort of scheduling mishap, and we overbooked. How was your afternoon? Is the headache better? Do you want me to look at your toe nail?” Emm said sarcastically.
“No, not now, but I think I will require attention later.”
Emm got closer, put her arms around Casey’s neck and kissed her. “Oh yeah? Can you be more specific about what kind of attention you’d be requiring?”
Casey smiled considering all her options, but the smile soon faded when her thoughts were obscured by the news she had to convey, which was for sure the cause of her headache.
Emm pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows in preparation for whatever was coming. Whenever Casey called her Emmy, she knew nothing good followed.
“I hate to tell you this, sweetie, but we are going to have to go to that golf tournament again.”
“What?” She dropped her hands to Casey’s chest.
“I’m sorry, baby. Wilson said that all must go unless we were very sick, and unfortunately just yesterday you told me that all my lab work turned out okay.”
Casey worried when Emm, who was notorious for her quick thinking, became momentarily quiet as in deep thought. “Do you really need to go?”
“What do you mean me? You know the rule, spouses and significant others need to go. Aren’t you my significant other?” Casey pursed her lips and sweetly smiled trying to be sympathetic. Her question prompted a slight, but rapidly faded smile from Emm.
Casey, who was a realtor, was required to attend the golf tournament every year. She had never mind going because she didn’t care about her performance and thought of it as a walk-in-the-park and a way to get some sun and exercise. Until last year, she had always gone alone, however when Emm entered her life and became her very significant other, she asked Emm to go with her as part of the requirement to bring spouses, partners, boyfriends or girlfriends.
At first Emm was excited because of the novelty and the thought that it was a next step towards solidifying their relationship. She was happy and honored that Casey wanted her to meet her work colleagues. The excitement soon vanished when she had to bear the hardship of the game. She didn’t mind the walking, or the sun, the problem was that she found the game extremely boring and a few of the people in the group very obnoxious.
“Well, it appears that you have no way out of the golf tournament because you are healthy, but I have a valid excuse not to go. I’m sick. I had my lab tests back today, and as it turns out, I have Barterism.” Emm put on her sad face.
“What the hell is that?” Casey’s face turned somber.
“It’s a virus.”
“Oh, no! Is it serious?”
“No it’s not. The problem is that it’s contagious.”
Emm almost laughed when she saw Casey’s look of horror. “What’s there to do? Is there medication for it?”
“No, no need for medication, just bed rest and lots of liquids. It’s kind of like a 24-hour thing. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. You are just going to have to deal with the golf thing on your own. And to be honest, it might be good for you to be away for the day because that way you won’t get the virus.”
“No way! I’m not going! I’m calling Wilson right now. I’m staying home to take care of you. He can fire me, if he wants to.”
“You are not worried that you might get the virus?” Emm was totally surprised by Casey’s reaction.
“Of course I am, but if I do get it you’ll take care of me, won’t you?”
“Of course, baby.” Emm wrapped her arms around her and kissed her.
“That settles it. Let me go make the preparations.”
“We need to make an inventory of the food and entertainment supplies needed for the weekend. Then I’m going to call Wilson and tell him we are not going. Maybe I should also get a sign for the door or something saying that we are in some sort of quarantine.” Casey walked into the kitchen leaving a shocked Emm in the living room. She could hear Casey opening and closing the covers and talking to herself about the things they needed. Casey was known for her preparedness for any kind of event.
A few minutes later, Emm walked into the kitchen and found Casey sitting by the kitchen table phone in hand.
“Don’t! Don’t call Wilson.”
“Why? The sooner I tell him the better.”
“Cas, I don't have Barterism.” Emm said pursing her lips in an apologetic tone. “It’s my April's fool joke on you because I didn't want to go to the golf thing. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I don’t like April fool’s jokes and this is a very bad one. I suck at it, don’t I?”
Casey got up from her chair smiling, and put her arms around Emm’s waist. “Back at ya! April fool’s!”
“I know you don’t have Barterism because there is no such a thing.”
“You know?” The surprise was evident on Emm’s face.
“Yes, I’m no doctor or nurse practitioner, but I was worried and did a quick look up, and I couldn’t find anything. Then it occurred to me that it was your smart way to get out of the golf event. You are sneaky!”
Emm chuckled “Why didn’t you call me out?”
Cass smiled. “Because I thought it was cute, and because I don’t want to go to the crappy golf game either, but most of all because I liked the bed rest and lots of liquids remedy for the virus. I thought we could get a lot bed rest this weekend, and I’d make sure to keep you very liquid.” Emm laughed when Casey wiggled her eyebrows.
“You devil! You are some sad thing taking advantage of a sick woman.” Emm placed a huge kiss on her lips.
“Look who’s talking? She who takes advantage of nice people like me making up a diseases as an excuse to get out of something.”
“Tell me something, did you believe it at first?”
“And you were willing to stay with me and take care of me even knowing that I was contagious and that you could have gotten the virus yourself?”
“Yes, why do you even doubt it?”
“Because you are always afraid to catch things, and you have stayed away from people when you thought you could catch something they’ve had.”
“Emm, things are different when it comes to you. I would never leave you alone in bad times, no matter what. I love you.”
“Oh, Cas!” Emm wrapped her arms around her so hard that Casey felt crushed. “I love you so much!” She kissed her full on the mouth.
“Good, then I think it’s time to get to work on those remedies. Off to bed now, come on.”
“Yes, it’s time. I feel very symptomatic already.”
“I hear that although Barterism is a 24-hour virus, it sometimes takes 48 hours to recover.” Casey said smiling as they walked into their bedroom.
“And sometime it just doesn’t go away, it just remains in your system and flares up pretty often.” Emm added while smiling and undressing.
“This could be very serious.” An equally smiley Casey said.
“Very, you might just have to take care of me for a very long time.”
“Yes, agreed. Maybe I’m in for a lifetime.”
Emm turned. “I hope so. I will need much attention.”
“No problem, I’ll take care of you forever, as long as you keep putting up with me, my ingrown toenail and other issues and most of all, as long as you never, ever play an April fool’s prank on me. I think I hate April’s fools more than Halloween, or St. Valentines.”
“I promise. Call Wilson. I feel extremely symptomatic.”
Casey chuckled. “You might want to rethink that forever thing before I make this call. He may fire me and you might have to support me for a while.”
“Cas, hurry up and make that call. I’m keeping you.” Emm was undressing rapidly.
Casey who was watching Emm undress, put her phone down on the night table. “He can wait, I can’t.” They rolled on the bed kissing and removing what was left of their clothes.