And neither was that body.
She didn't know how many times her grandpa had told her that before he died, invoked it like a curse.
Did she believe in curses?
She was around doctors and men of science enough to have the good sense not to, but all the same, the threat loomed. Not unlike others.
For some, an irritation. For others, annoying reprieve; an excuse to flake out on responsibility. For Elise, it was a war-zone. Every movement, every meal, every hour, every breath was meticulously planned and overseen. Mask on in public. Evacuate the moment you even see someone sneeze. Don't let anyone touch any of your things. Don't let them touch you. Come home as soon as possible. Shower. Thoroughly sanitize.
And yet, time after time, despite -- or perhaps even in spite of -- all the safeguards, she never failed to get sick.
They stumbled through the same, tired routine every time. First the trip to immediate care. Prescribed antibiotics that never worked. Then, emergency room when everything turned for the worse. Her father was a pro; it didn't take much time to wheedle the nurses into allowing her into her own room. Couldn't risk exposure. Nothing was too much for his baby, not even making personal enemies with every nurse on that ward with his constant haranguing.
He jostled a passing woman with his voice. "We've been waiting here close to two hours now--"
"And I apologize for that," the nurse replied, diplomatic. "We're a bit swamped today. As soon as the next doctor is available--"
"That's exactly what the last nurse said," her father accused. From behind him, a bone rattling cough punctuated his words.
Foregoing speaking with him entirely, the nurse poked her head into the room, watching as Elise coughed loudly onto her bed sheets, hunched over.
"How are we feeling?"
Her entire body shivered as she strained against the convulsions that led her to cough, her lungs crackling, gravel filled, as she breathed in. Her lips were wet and her eyes were glassy when she looked up the nurse, forcing a delirious smile. "I'm fine."
"Sure sounds it," the nurse joked.
"She sounds like she's dying," her father put in. The nurse ignored him.
"How's your breathing?"
Elise's voice was hoarse. "Difficult."
By then, the nurse had made her way over, eyes pinned to the monitor that hung off her arm. "O2's a little low," she remarked. "I could get you hooked up to some oxygen if that would help."
"Thank you, ma'am," Elise replied, the statement curtailed by a few more coughs. "Don't bother yourself if it's too much of a hassle, please--"
What was that saying about flies and honey?
The nurse smiled at her, moving to rest her back against the pillows. "None at all. Just keep yourself elevated. I'll go see what's keeping the doctor."
When she left the room, she didn't spare her father another look. The man glanced between the door and his daughter, and all the girl could offer was a hapless smile.
One that was shaken off moments later by another violent set of coughs.