OH. MY. DEAR. LAWD. I have been actively battling this stupid illness for seven days now. Seven. This means that today is the day that the clouds should part and those lovely streams of light should come cascading down through the break in that way that had me convinced as a child that angels used them for ladders to come and go from heaven.

Give me a break. I was an innocent five-year-old surrounded by religion on all sides. Indoctrinated five-year-olds have a tendency to occasionally see things like a Thomas Kinkade painting.

Seven is one of those biblically important numbers. That and the number four, but we're focusing on seven today. Since it is Day Seven of my illness, somebody should rest, or somebody should conclude something, or there should at least be some kind of marked change in my circumstances. The use of the number seven is like saying that something has lasted a long time, and it has indeed been a long time since I felt like I could draw in a long, deep breath. Seven is the number of Too Long. Seven is the number signalling an End and/or Beginning. Seven is the number that means that if nothing portentous happens, at least something smaller, such as the cessation of my nagging cough, should happen.

And right now, and I'm just guessing but am probably correct, you are wishing that I would just quit with the whining about my cold thing. You know what I think of that? WHO CARES WHAT YOU THINK.

Nothing remarkable has happened yet on this the Seventh Day of Illness, and nothing might happen at all, because I gave up the old religion for reasonable thought about fifteen years ago. Still, I hold out hope, because if I were to believe in Mr. Christian, he would not be a spiteful god that would hold things against any of his creation, even if that thing was something like not acknowledging his existence as a reality in any way, shape, or form. While I'm sitting around in this state of suspended reason waiting for the mythical Big Guy to do his numerically obsessive bit, I'm going to bring something old out of the closet.

Not that closet. I've been out of that one for ages. The other closet. The much more boring one filled with old letters and tax receipts and sticky notes that lost their stick. Out of this closet I pulled the story of a dream that I had back in the fall of 2002, which I had included in a letter to my friend Frances:

Both you and [the Fiery One] were in a dream I had last night. There was a long beginning, but I only really remember this one part. You and the [Fiery One] took me into what looked like an old-fashioned parlour. The two of you were being secretive about why we were there and the chinese men and women there were silent. There was a chinese man who was sitting in a grand, dark wood chair. He held an ornate cane in his left hand. He seemed somehow to be directing a woman what to do. I was standing on a low stool, and she appeared to be measuring me, though without touching me or coming very close. You were standing near me and seemed to be very pleased with what was happening, as though you knew it would please me, too. Eventually, a floor-length thick smock-style dress with long sleeves and a stiff, one-inch collar with a slit in the front to just above my breasts was brought in and lowered over my head. The outside was a thick, cottony material, not quite quilted, and it was beige-ish in colour with a sparse dispersal of small red-brown bits of colour. It was the inside that I loved. The inside of the garment was lined with silk of the same shade as the outside of the dress, but woven into the pattern of this material was the story of the making of the dress. There were pictures of the [Fiery One] standing next to me with me on the low stool, the little woman measuring me, you standing with me, the man in the rich chair with his cane, and then me standing in the completed dress. We walked out onto the street, and I knew that I would wear this dress all the time, that it was my own personal uniform suited only to me.

Didn't the wild coolness of that dream make you feel better about my initial whinings about my health? I thought so.

And before I go, I'll have you know that nothing remarkable has happened. I'm still coughing and wheezing and aching and draining snot in a slow, salty drip down the back of my throat. Mr. Christian, how do you ever expect to win me over with your obvious lack of interest in my Seventh Day of Illness? You claim to want to be worshipped and followed, but then you act all cold and uncaring. If you're always going to wait for everyone else to make the first move, your popularity is going to continue to wane. Frankly, your come-here-come-here-come-here-go-away behaviour is far less than enticing.

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"Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches" by Mary Oliver

Shout outs go out to the following nice people (or at least I'll be a cup-half-full person and assume their niceness): Connie-cobb, Maddy, Blackbird, sb, and Takeko. The linking makes me feel fuzzy.