Between episodes of Modern Family, Cayden went downstairs and came back with the multigrain loaf we'd bought at the store earlier, all sliced up and arranged on a plate with a side of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (my favorite). Then he went back downstairs and came back with bowls of steaming hot soup. A third trip brought cups of ice water. I offered to help, but Cayden ordered me not to leave the bed because he wanted to take care of me.
The bread was thick and chewy and crunchy and delicious. I leaned over the plate so I wouldn't leave crumbs in his bed spread. I had to chew it for a full five minutes before swallowing so the crust and grains didn't scrape against my tonsils on the way down.
For whatever reason, that soup tasted better than any soup I'd ever had in my life. Maybe it was because I'd been craving soup so badly that day, or maybe it was because it was just that good. Or maybe it was because Cayden made it. I dipped the bread in the soup and waited for it to absorb the creamy, thick orange-red liquid before bringing it to my mouth, quickly, without dripping. The soup seeped out of the soggy bread when it hit my tongue. It was so good I made noises. Noises that Cayden only heard in bed.
"That good?" Cayden asked, laughing at my enthusiasm.
"It really is. It's freaking amazing."
It was my second to last night in London, and I was torn. Part of me looked forward to being back in Texas so I could get my hands on some antibiotics and hydrocodone. The other part of me hated that part of me for wanting to be anywhere Cayden wasn't. I wanted to cling to him, but my unstable body temperature and sensitive skin wouldn't allow it. I could only cuddle with him for a few minutes before my cheeks burned dark red and we had to wrestle my clothes off so I didn't sweat to death.
I couldn't touch him. I couldn't kiss him. I couldn't laugh as hard as I wanted to. I couldn't tell him how much I appreciated him, because to do so would have taken me all night and I didn't have the strength. I tried to imagine how my situation could be any worse, and then I decided at least I didn't have a raging case of explosive diarrhea. So, yeah, at least I had that going for me. (I'm knocking on wood that that never happens while I'm in the presence of Cayden.)
I was missing Cayden when he was two feet away from me. I knew I'd be kicking myself when I was back in Texas for not touching him every moment I had the chance, but I couldn't do anything about it.
As we fell asleep that night, I reached my hand out and held Cayden's. If we couldn't cuddle all night the way I wanted to, at least our hands could.