*NOTE* This post is not for the squeamish or the light-stomached.
A couple of months ago (about two weeks before we moved), The Boss was on antibiotics for an ear infection. As anyone who has ever been on antibiotics will tell you, the medication fucks with your stomach and can make you feel quite sick. Having been on the medication for a couple of days, The Boss was coping with some pretty strong nausea but was managing okay otherwise. In fact, she almost made it through the entire course of the medication without incident.
On day three or four of the antibiotic regimen, The Boss and I shared a dinner together out on the porch of the apartment we lived at at the time (you know, the one with the noisy landlords and haunted bedroom). She had made tacos, and we ate while overlooking the lake. She seemed to have her normal appetite about her, but once everything had been brought inside after dinner, The Boss started feeling a little queasy.
"Are you alright?" I asked. Her face was pale and she was holding her stomach.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she said, breathing slowly and evenly through her nose.
"If you're gonna puke, you need to let me know."
"I'm fine, Mike. Just feeling a little sick to my stomach," she assured me.
I paused for a moment.
"Because if you puke, I puke."
(As an aside, I am a sympathetic vomiter. Not sympathetic as in, "Aw, I'm sorry you're sick. Let me hold your hair." Sympathetic as in if you blow chunks in front of me, I'll puke immediately afterwards, possibly even while you are still in mid-puke, if there is a lot coming up. It is an automatic reaction that I have little to no control over, and it has made for some pretty messy incidents.)
"I'm fine, Mike," she repeats, "just a little bit nauseated."
She doesn't look like she believes a word that she is saying, so I keep a watchful eye on her. She turns her attention to the news on the television, but I can tell she is in distress. After a few minutes, she suddenly leans forward, her eyes wide.
"Are you gonna puke?"
"Nope. I'm good," she says in clipped words, and leans back. "False alarm."
"Should I leave? If you're gonna puke, I need to know so I can leave."
A pause. She leans forward again, and an expression of panic flashes on her face, and then fades.
"... I'm good."
Right now, she is the worst liar ever. I can practically see her seething, her stomach churning. It is my turn to lean forward now, hands poised on the arms of my chair and ready to spring up and run out of the room at the first sound of a retch.
She groans lightly and raises a hand over her mouth.
"Should I go?" I ask.
She shakes her head no. Her hand drops.
"Should I go?" I ask again.
Her hand rises again, hovering in the air just below her mouth. She swallows hard.
"I'm good," she says, wiping the corners of her mouth. "I'm good, I prom-"
Her stomach heaves and interrupts her mid-sentence. Before I know what is happening, The Boss lurches forward and clamps her hand firmly over her mouth. She turns to look at me, the panic on her face very clear and very real.
"Should I go?"
In a flash, I am up out of my chair. With unheard-of agility and coordination by a man of my stature, I step lightly around the obstacle course of various boxes and storage bins that lay strewn around the living room. Amazingly, I don't hit or knock over a single thing, and in three seconds time I am out of the room and out the front door. I turn around to close the door behind me, and I see The Boss scrambling to pick up a bowl that had for some reason been left on the coffee table. The door slams closed and I plug my ears with my hands.
It wasn't enough. Even on the other side of the door and my hands cupped over my ears, I hear her retch and heave, and vomit. My stomach starts churning, and the bile rises in my throat.
No. NO. I will not throw up. I will NOT throw up. I start humming to block out the noise coming from inside and focus on calming my stomach. The urge to revisit my dinner is strong, but with sheer determination I force it away. I continue humming for a few moments just to be safe.
A minute or two passes. I stop humming, lower my hands, and crack open the door. The Boss is leaning with her head over the bowl.
"Are you okay?"
She nods her head.
"Is it safe to come in?"
"Yeah," she says weakly. "Just don't look over here."
You don't have to worry about that. I have no interest in seeing a bowl of freshly made taco salad soup. I step gingerly back inside and close the door. The Boss wipes her mouth with the back side of her hand and sighs heavily. Barely three steps inside, she groans again, and I freeze.
"Mike?" she asks nervously.
"I'm going to need a bigger bowl."