Sasha had been on her own journey, triggered by the massive change around her. At first, she sank into herself, resisting with all her might the attempt of this virus to categorize her as just like other people. She went to rallies, held up signs, yelled and shouted. The fear of becoming sick coiled in her guts, and she tried to drown out fear with anger, as she always had before.
This time, though, her anger failed her.
At one rally, Sasha met a woman even more determined to hang onto her independence than she was. Sasha followed her afterwards, talked, connected. The woman introduced Sasha to a group of people living “off the grid,” or so they said, although they certainly seemed connected to the internet. She arranged for Sasha to visit to their compound, a few miles outside of town, in a beautiful, remote part of the upper reaches of the valley.
Once there, Sasha’s anger fled as she watched and listened. She saw people burrowing into a life in which their own survival was their only agenda. Listening to them turned her feet icy cold as her mind reeled. Sasha made excuses and left as quickly as she could.
“I saw myself,” Sasha tells Kassandra when she calls to ask her old friend for help. “I saw myself, focused only on my own survival, with nothing else, nothing bigger to live for. Kass, what happened to me?”
As she listens to Kassandra’s soothing, comforting, accepting words in response, Sasha breaks into sobs.
“Oh, Sasha, you’re still there,” Kassandra says. “You just got stuck under a lot of layers of other crap, like we all do. But that girl I know, that dear old friend, she’s still there, just waiting for you to lend her a hand to dig out.”
Inside the broken spot in her heart, Sasha sees that young girl, athletic, joyful, intelligent, and silly.