The man and I went to health center in Harlem and got ourselves tested for covid yesterday. Results in two to three days, the men and women in white coats said. We were two of a steady stream of city dwellers of every walk and description, immigrants, hipsters, soccer moms, and corporate suits, checking our status as the numbers rise. I'm feeling fine, really, and so is my love, but every time I listen to reports of new death records smashed, ICUs with no more beds, nurses weeping after brokering too many family goodbyes on video, doctors with that traumatized thousand-yard stare, I start to feel a little covidy, almost in solidarity with the nation's PTSD. Is that a sore throat coming on? Is the heavy feeling in my brain the start of a covid headache? Why am I so tired and is it only that I didn't get to sleep till 4 a.m. last evening? And when I awaken, am I feeling only the usual joint aches or is this creakiness something more?
My son called me two days ago to announce that he won't see us for Christmas, as cases in his part of the city are spiking, and he feels very exposed. Don't you all wear PPE on emergency calls, I asked him? Not every time, he said. Only if we're fighting a fire or going into people's homes. We have to conserve supplies. I'll see you in the new year, he told me, sounding weary of it all. As a firefighter, he will be one of the first to get the new covid vaccine, perhaps the first dose as soon as this month. But there are unanswered questions, he pointed out, like, if he contracts the infection after being vaccinated, even if he doesn't get sick, or have any symptoms, could he still shed the virus to others? There's too much we still don't know, he said.
Later, I joked to my daughter that he announced his removal from our social family bubble with no sentimentality, and no attempt to "manage mommy." She knew what I meant. Empath that she is, she would have announced her decision more gently, with a sense of regret that it has to be this way. We both laughed, an inside joke.
That bright yellow house lives down the street from the health center where we went for our tests. The house doesn't look much like it would be hanging out on a side street in Harlem, which makes me love it more. We also know and love its occupants, the unapologetically socialist minister of our little activist church, her wife of three-plus decades, and their two sons. Our minister's wife, also a rabble rousing preacher woman, took the picture. The entire first floor is dedicated to social service projects, soup kitchens, sanctuary for the undocumented, shelter for the homeless. This is where my church man husband attends meetings several days each week, most of them virtual now, doing his part to keep the soul of the neighborhood healed and whole, or at least on the way there.
Update: We both tested negative.
No Christmas here, I have not seen any one since last Christmas when our big party here did not know that it may be the last. Your kids are thoughtful. loving, caring, you area lucky woman! That house looks most welcoming. We have that same sign down by the bay. Sweet.ReplyDelete
The bright yellow house near the health center has a peace pole! There is one here in Bellingham, too:ReplyDelete
2020 has been a year consumed with uncertainty and waiting. Like your son, there are people I love and look forward to seeing in 2021. For now, I feel unsettled and extra cautious. Weary, too.
So true. Neighborhoods have a soul that can be healed and whole.
I love that color and your clergy sound like my cup of tea...Wishing you both negative results and sending hugs to your family.ReplyDelete
I am not sure what we will do for Christmas either. I have bought most of the gifts but we will see if I will be able to get them to the recipients! For Thanksgiving, the 2 grown children that could come were tested before they came. Not sure if we will try it again for Christmas or not... It will take quite a while to get all vaccinated but I am lucky. I am retired so I can stay safe at home and wait patiently...ReplyDelete
I love that your husband has such a beautiful place to express his spirituality with others. I know it is good for him, for the neighborhood, the world.ReplyDelete
Let us know when you get test results.
And I can completely visualize your son telling you that news in his own pragmatic way. He sees no need to waste emotionality, does he? Bless him. He's doing the right thing, the very hard thing and you, by understanding, are doing the hardest thing of all.
That house is so beautiful and even more so for what it offers to the community. Life these days is so challenging and getting more so by the minute. We are learning to navigate through this insanity, but it is more challenging than we had ever anticipated. That, coupled with the madman in the White House who threatens our very core of Constitutional transition of power, has me up in the night rattled with fear. It's going to be a quiet holiday season here. We wait for the return of light.ReplyDelete
I love the yellow house, it just radiates good will and joy. If all churches could be like that, I might go back. The Southern Baptists pretty much killed it for me. Hope your tests are negative. I still stress every time I get a headache, or a scratchy throat.ReplyDelete
You two are good people. Hoping and pretty sure the test will come back negative. I worry all the time too if I'm tired, I'm tired all the time, if I have a headache or feel achy, etc. Is it covid?ReplyDelete
You son is wise to not see you two. He doesn't want to accidently get you two sick. We're not seeing anyone this Christmas, not even my elderly in laws. Maybe next year. I've never been a fan of Christmas so not a real hardship. I find it to be just another day that's supposed to be a different kind of day but never is.
Stay safe my friend.
that is a very cool house, my kind of house. and so glad you tested negative. and your son is adulting and if everybody we wouldn't be in the situation. too many grown children out there throwing tantrums.ReplyDelete
Your son is a real sweetheart. Being on the front line, doing so much good for others and then giving up Christmas with you because of potential COVID risk. You know, as his mother, he is a true gift from GOD. Great news on your negative test results. Yay!ReplyDelete
Such gorgeous colouring for such a wonderful place!ReplyDelete
We can do this, we can look after each other by not having family celebrations. We will do it out of love.
Thank goodness! My husband had a headache and is feeling tired. He got tested today but we won’t know for 3-5 days. I understand the covidy feeling. Your son is doing the right thing, hard as it is. May he and all of you stay safe.ReplyDelete
I'm glad that you've dodged the Covid. Sigh. I don't know what to say or think. I love that little house, and I do love you.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you're negative! WHEW! This is such a crazy time. I'm sorry you won't see your son for Christmas but at least he's being responsible and protecting you, which is certainly a demonstration of love.ReplyDelete