The last week has been a reminder, not that I needed one, that Covid stalks the world at large; in the space of a few days, my best friend and his wife tested positive, even as Chloe’s grandparents and the nine-year-old (who’s spending the summer with them) did the same. Two days after that, a booster shot laid both Chloe and myself out entirely, both of us feeling entirely sick just as the result of a quick vaccination shot. Illness is, as has been the case for the last two and a bit years, all around us.
It’s not as if I’d ever really forgotten that, per se; I still wear my mask almost every time I leave the house — I might leave it off if I’m just walking the dog, and expecting that I’m going to be keeping my distance from everyone else, and in an open-air space — and I barely go anywhere that isn’t the grocery store, especially now that the kid is on summer break and doesn’t need to be walked to school each morning. I am, on some level, always conscious that Covid is out there, preparing to strike and fearful of that possibility. And yet.
There’s something I’ve been thinking of, with regards to the virus, lately, and it feeds into all this: the idea that it’s become an inevitability that we’ll all get it (again). I’d normalized it, made it into this thing like a cold where it’s at once unavoidable and also not a big deal, helped by… I don’t know, a society that’s sending that message more every day, I guess. But then people you love get it, and there’s this moment of worrying, what if they have a really bad case? What if they die? and it becomes scary in a way it hasn’t felt in a long time again. You remember how big and dangerous it feels, after all.