Wake up covered in sweat. Again. Drag myself out of bed, for there is no such thing as rest for the weary teacher. Decide to bite the bullet and stay home. Spend an hour of pre-dawn typing lesson plans, trying to remember what page the students are on in their novels. Brain strain until I am tempted to reach for the coffee cup, but then again, how will I get back to sleep in my caffeine-sensitive-like-an-old-lady state? Lesson plans finished – sent. Hope the other teachers see my message. Not looking forward to a frantic just-post-dawn call looking for substitute plans. Grateful for the sleep and rest, I nuzzle myself into the corner of the couch, cozying up to the suede as it warms to my fever. Ten minutes later, already restless. Should be working, not couching. Nothing good on cable except prophets of doom foretelling the end of the world by volcanic super-eruption/earthquake/ice age. Husband awakes in a foul mood – is it because I’m here? – rushes around, pauses and tells me to “be productive” and do some laundry, woman, since I have decided to sit on my rear end not working. Leaves in a humph. Forgets his keys and comes back. Gives me a peck and an exhausted “love you.” Out the door with a bang. Nestling up to the warm spot on the couch again, I try to get some rest. Nope. Wide awake. Hope the kids are listening to the sub. Stop thinking about school. Might as well do some laundry, woman, instead of watching End of the World part four on the Doomsday Channel or whatever it is and worrying about work. Load of laundry in the washer. Now I can sit and relax until it’s done. It’s done? Better fold it before it wrinkles. Next load in, this one will take longer, right? Ugh, I feel gross when I don’t shower right away. Rub a dub dub, plop in the tub. Great. Now I’m sweating. Why did I take a hot bath with a hundred-degree fever? Dummy. Better go fold some more laundry, woman, but now the whole apartment is sticky since the vent from the dryer is leaking right into the air. Wonder why I bothered cleaning up. Feels like the walls are closing in. Such a tiny, dark room in a tiny, dark apartment. I’m all clean, so why not take a walk down the street to the coffee shop? Is that allowed on a sick day? Maybe I’ll google it. Hair’s all wet, though. Maybe I’ll braid it in pigtails. That sounds like fun. Twist, turn, pull. Ouch. Forgot I was so bad at this. I look like a twelve-year-old. Who cares. Throw on my Oxford tourist sweatshirt and hit the stairs. Open the door and where did all this fresh air come from? Sky is blue and the wind is blowing and fall is here. Feel like jumping in a pile of leaves, except that I live in town and there are no leaves and I feel sick anyway. Stroll down to the coffee shop, trying not to look too sick or look too young or someone might suspect I’m playing hookie. Open the old-fashioned door and walk up the slanted wooden floor and it smells like cinnamon and spice and twelve other kinds of happiness. Mosey up to the counter and ask for a bagel and a chai latte with soy and she says would you like cream cheese with that and I say yes please and smile meekly even though I’m probably older than this girl but there’s something about asking for food that makes everyone feel like a little kid again. Have a seat in the corner by the window and feel the sunlight on my face and sip that cinnamon and spice until I’m warm on the inside in a cozy way, finally. Settle in with a good book and wish I could be a writer and sit in coffee shops all day and not have to be so exhausted at school and drink chai lattes with soy.