The Wait

Phil’s brother rang me on Wednesday. He had just tested positive for Covid. At the mere mention of the virus, my stomach dropped. Worry. He’s the first close person I know to have caught it. The news headlines have reached us. But then my head started whirring, and my heart started thumping. I thought back. I’d spent the previous evening with him. Inside. Fuck.

For the last few days, I’ve been testing myself daily. Every morning I put off doing it, until I’ve had my breakfast, drank my tea, watched some telly, procrastinated as much as I can. Then I get out the blue box, count out the bits, unwrap everything slowly and carefully. Reread the instructions. Just. In. Case. Swab up the nose, swirl it around, swab in the liquid, swirl it around… and count the droplets splashing on the hole. And then I wait. I can’t watch. I walk away and pretend everything is normal. Not daring to look at what it might show.

So far I’ve had three negative results. 🙂 Each time I return, with squinting, I-don’t-want-to-see eyes; I let out a big breath I didn’t know I was holding, and relax the shoulders that I didn’t know I was tensing. I do a little cheer to the dogs and peace fills me. And I try to forget about it for the rest of the day. Living with a terminal illness, I’m used to thinking only of now. Not worrying about a future I cannot change. Waiting until we cross that bridge. And generally it works. For the rest of the day, I don’t think about tomorrow or Sunday. For the rest of the day, I can just walk on the beach, play tug with Kepler, cuddle up with Lottie infront of Squid Game. For the rest of the day, I don’t think about what happens if two lines appear instead of one. But, to be honest, I can’t wait for the next few days to be over. I can’t wait until the danger five days has passed. I can’t wait until me and the rest of the family are safely in the clear.

I’m trying to be brave. But shit, I can feel the tension churning inside.


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