During the last week of July, it suddenly dawned on me that the summer was halfway over and Dan and I had not done anything significant! Every day was spent indoors. I worked on my novel and took some online writing and book publishing classes. Dan worked almost every day preparing for Back2Levittown, his weekly Friday night show on Facebook live; we were both being very productive. But between Dan’s chronic fatigue due to Covid and my anxiety about going outside, we had not done one memorable thing.
Yes, anxiety. Let me explain.
A week after Dan had tested positive for Covid back in June, my second test came back positive as well. But mine might as well have been a false positive because I didn’t have any symptoms whatsoever. I continued exercising every day with no feelings of fatigue and I never developed any type of fever. I maintained a positive attitude throughout, feeling that I wouldn’t develop any symptoms and that I had somehow beat the virus. Someone from the NYC Test and Trace Corps called me every day to check on my symptoms but my answers were always the same: I felt absolutely fine!
I did quarantine myself for the mandatory two weeks. Most of that time, Dan was away, quarantining himself at a Covid facility, so I was all alone. When I needed them, my sister was sweet enough to bring me groceries and she left them at the door so that we would not be in contact.
When I was first told that I tested positive for Covid, I was upset that now I was a part of that statistic. I quickly got over that when day after day, I continued to feel good. However, when Dan came back and my quarantine was over, I wasn’t moved at all to finally go outside and experience the summer air in all of its glory. Instead, I felt nervous about going out. This was strange to me because the entire time beforehand, I was certain that I could not and would not be affected by this thing. But now, my thoughts about it became irrational.
I felt that I might contaminate others just by being in their presence—mask and all. I had self-quarantined for two weeks so I knew I could no longer be contagious; but the thought was still there. I also felt that no matter how responsible I was with a mask and gloves, I would somehow contract the virus again. In my irrational mind, the world outside was a germ infested Petri dish and we were the bacteria unable to resist our attraction to one another. I didn’t want to take a chance in the laundry room in the basement of my building; the thought of going down there somehow frightened me. I also avoided supermarkets altogether. In fact, I was quite content to stay home if it meant that I would not be in contact with anyone. The only time I felt comfortable leaving my apartment was during my morning walks to the park with Dan, which continued as soon as my quarantine was over. Our early morning walks are the perfect opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise without running into so many people.
As July came to an end, I suddenly realized that the summer was passing us by with nothing to show for it. I saw the second half of the summer going in the same momentum and slowly started warming to the idea of finally getting over my anxiety. I didn’t want the summer to just be the summer of Covid. I wanted to experience more. There was no way that we were the only ones missing out on a memorable summer because of this virus. And I’m sure there were plenty of people doing enjoyable and exciting activities while remaining safe. Why weren’t we a part of that crowd?
I had to remind myself that Dan and I were quite fortunate. There were so many people who spent this summer in hospital beds perhaps not even awake or aware of their unfortunate situation. I thought of the people whose very lives were lost as a result of this horrifying virus. I thought about the loved ones of those who sadly succumbed to this thing. What about their summer plans? Covid ruined a lot of plans and a lot of lives and realizing how fortunate Dan and I are as two people who tested positive, I was ready to make something more of my summer. With that resolve, my anxiety had finally gone away; and the following week, Dan and I were going away ourselves…