Rooted, I used to think.

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Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022 @ 5:17 pm
COVID, Round 2

I haven’t had a quiet night at home in weeks.

Did I manifest this?

I’d felt tired all weekend, a sort of hangover feeling despite not drinking lately. A sore throat as if I'd been talking at a loud bar all night. I attributed the exhaustion to stress, to going out too much, to the cold air on my lungs. Even still, on Saturday morning I said to Russell, “I think there’s something wrong with me.”

A day passes.

Sunday morning. I groan and stumble out of bed. A sharp, pointed headache all at once slams against my skull. I extend an arm to steady myself against the wall. Russell is in the kitchen making coffee. I say to myself, but also to him, “I think that I somehow have RSV, but I guess that I should test.”

I rummage under the bathroom sink for the green box of rapid tests.

I spread the contents of the kit across the table. A wash of bright cool sunlight that pierces against my retinas. I’m glad that I’ve done this before, because I’m too shaky and blurry to focus on the small print. Vial. Swab. Three drops in the test well.

I honestly think that I’m wasting a test. I watch the line of sample move up the test strip.


He sets my coffee on the table and looks over my shoulder at the two bright pink lines.

My mind reels, already grieving all of my plans that will need to be cancelled. I stand up and move across the room away from him. “Do you want me to leave?” I suddenly feel dangerous, a viral weapon.

“No, no. Don’t be ridiculous. We’ll figure this out.”

I am scared and sad and angry all at once.

What did I do wrong? Was I not supposed to go to the climbing gym? To dance class? Into the office? Ride public transit? Wait in line at the grocery store? I have no idea where I got it this time, but I haven’t been doing anything to prevent getting it. I was scheduled for my booster in two weeks, which would have been five months since my previous infection.

It’s fine. I’m fine.

Here I am with a quiet night at home alone.

Roots | Shoots