Hay fever. Fuck hay fever. Fuck hay fever like it’s fucked me. In the eyes, the nose, and the throat.
My eyes are red, like a cartoon junky; like a bong-smoking night creature thrust out into morning; like the protagonist of a zombie flick you picked up on DVD in Poundland – for fifty pence.
Don’t itch them. Mustn’t itch my eyes. Blink slowly, languidly, tightly, scrunchedly behind my shades. But no itching. Mustn’t touch them. Mustn’t go near them.
Well, maybe just a little near them. A pinch at the bridge of my nose with a wandering fingernail. A teeny tiny fingertip rub. Ah, but it is a slippery slope and I’m already sliding. Soon my fist is clenched, knuckles kneading my eyes like dough. My cornea is whizzing back and forth like an air hockey puck at a Mega Bowl. I’m crying now of course. My eyes are leaking saline solution like a bin bag leaks bin juice on bin day.
The tears from my eyes join with the big fat drops that drip from my nose. My entire face is leaking. The ooze from my proboscis nose is constant, drip, drip, drip. Not snot, but big salty water drops. I catch them if I can, constantly dabbing my nose with a tissue – a pointillist painter frantic at his canvas.
Then, someone distracts me, just for a single second and I miss one. A drop falls freely from my nose onto the face of a sleeping baby, into your cup of tea, onto the tablecloth as I pass the ketchup, into the pints I carry back to the table.
Like a black hair in your fettuccine on a first date, you pretend not to notice, but it is clear that you do. It’s disgusting and I deserve to be punched and probably would be, if I did not look already like I had been, repeatedly in fact. Big red eyes, big red nose, gasping for breath, full of remorse and anger.
Oh I sneeze as well – like your grandpa I do. Kenny with the big sneeze. That’s a given: the full stop to end every sentence, verbalised or internalised, the grammar of my misery.
I honk too, like a seal headbutting a cattle prod. I sniff and snuffle like every grieving widow ever, rolled into one hopeless flesh-faucet. And don’t even mention tissues. I piss tissues, I get through more bog roll that a family of fifty with dysentery. I am responsible for killing more trees than Nutella.
It goes on like this all day. Every goddamn minute.
The first hours of the day are draining, as I mentally try to fight it. Deny the symptoms. I swear it takes as much mental exertion as a Mensa exam to not let rip a morning sneeze. I fight and I fight. And yes, I take the medicine, but antihistamines don’t do shit for me, the vaseline up my nose – some would even say it glows.
At these times, my conversation is woeful, I’m detached, elsewhere. “Probably on the spectrum,” they politely surmise as they leave me, with my face in permanent poo strain. Eventually, the hay fever wins out. It always does. I can’t fight it anymore. There is no going back now. It is with me always.
When the day is done and I finally collapse on my back exhausted, defeated in a darkened room, there is still no relief. I am in a bed of my own bodily excretions, a thousand used tissues damp and dank around me.
My nose is entirely blocked and I make desperate attempts to take on air through my mouth. The thing is though – my throat itches. The worst kind of itch: stitches itches. It itches so much that I scratch it with a repeated part-wretch, part gag that I’ve developed over the years. To my long suffering partner it sounds like I’m choking or attempting to beatbox – both equally disturbing to her. It is a swampy geiger counter click, detecting my summer half-life.
I don’t sleep either. I instead spend the night mopping at my face with whatever I can reach out and grab, forced to fumble in darkness because my eyelids have crusted shut. In bed you should only sleep and make love the experts say – ha! Neither are on the cards for me.
The weather on the radio tells me hourly that tomorrow is going to be another beautiful day. Fuck you hay fever.