Summer of Covid, part 2

During the last week of July, when Dan and I realized half the summer was over and we had not done anything notable, Dan suggested we go away for a few days. I agreed that we needed a getaway, and I was desperate to get over my current anxiety (Summer of Covid, part 1), so I was all for it. He booked a hotel for us to stay in Boston for a couple of nights and we were set to visit a museum and take a “Ghosts and Gravestones” walking tour. We were finally doing something!

But on the morning of our trip, Dan dejectedly told me that he was not feeling well enough to go (he was still experiencing symptoms of fatigue and muscle weakness from having Covid). It wasn’t until then that I realized just how much I had been looking forward to our excursion. As I packed my bags the night before our pending road trip, I envisioned us relaxing by the pool. Now, that vision was quickly slipping away. There would be no fun and interesting photos taken during any tour. And it saddened me to know that the summer dress I had packed  for a night out on the town would not be worn– nor would any other outfit for that matter. Dan knew I was disappointed, and with a pained expression in his eyes, he genuinely apologized. While I understood that he had no control over his symptoms, I was still heartbroken inside.

I think Dan was trying to keep a positive outlook when he said, “Thank goodness you’re a homebody.” Yes, I’ve always been more inclined to enjoy my time at home than attend any particular event but I didn’t see it that way when he said it. I felt that statement was completely irrelevant and that it negated my excitement for a necessary getaway. I had been indoors for the first part of the summer, overcoming a most surprising case of social anxiety. I was finally ready to experience the fresh, warm air, feel the hot sun on my skin and enjoy a different setting with my husband. So no, it wasn’t a good thing that I was a homebody. 

I quickly felt an urgency to leave the apartment.  I didn’t want to be home thinking about the trip that didn’t happen; that was just too depressing. Not only was I too upset to just stay home, I suddenly felt claustrophobic, trapped in a space I didn’t know I was starting to resent. Being in the darkened apartment all summer was causing a restlessness inside me, bringing me down with lethargy and a desire to do nothing all day but sit in front of the TV or play mind-numbing games on my cell phone. I was angry for not having pushed myself out of the slump that defined my overall summer disposition. I had no idea what it was actually doing to me until I was faced with the reality and the understanding that I needed to get out.

In an effort to make it up to me, Dan did take me out that evening to a local restaurant where we enjoyed our meals outdoors. It was so lovely to be outside beyond my neighborhood and it reaffirmed my feeling ready to be among people again. I believe it also helped Dan conquer his symptoms of fatigue– if only for a little while until his symptoms would hit him again.

Around the second week of August, Dan had a few days where he was feeling pretty good, so we decided to give it another shot. We drove down to Boston, and spent a couple of nights in a hotel downtown. The following week, we spent two days and one night at a beach club in Oakdale, LI, and spent a day and night out in the Hamptons. Between participating in a couple of amusing and engrossing walking tours, pleasant visits with friends, and relishing the appetizing meals at outdoor restaurants, we still found plenty of time to relax so that Dan would not feel too fatigued. 

Upon reflection, a thought came to mind. Only a few weeks before, I was feeling apprehensive about being in the same space with others after testing positive with the coronavirus, so my feelings of disappointment for not going away– and finally being able to enjoy myself once we did get away– were actually very good signs that my anxiety was over! We’ve since had picnics at the park and enjoyed a few  afternoons at Rockaway Beach. These were not major excursions, but they were so much better than staying indoors, watching the summer pass us by. Yes, I was truly grateful for the little that we had done together. 

Fun times at the park.

Published by Cathy Marie

Cathy has published her poetry with The National Library of Poetry, and has won awards for her short stories. She is currently working on a novel where she uses her own personal experience with depression to develop the inner conflict for her main character, a high-powered magazine executive who has trouble sustaining relationships due to family trauma and chronic depression.

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