It is, you see, one of the most massive disruptions and resets in human history. Decades from now, historians will try to describe it through the clues left behind. Diaries, news footage, reportage, data.
For the people living through it, it creates the odd sensation of being caught between the small and the vast. Small acts of daily life continue as if nothing had happened. Vast change sweeps everything in its path. Too many are missing from this chapter of recovery and new growth: they did not make it through the disruption. Too many hearts ache too deeply to participate fully, yet, in the reset.
Even those to whom loss did not come too closely, too directly, are changed. Journalists fill pages of their publications with stories about new, looser-fitting back to work wardrobes and high demand for comfort in the quotidian form of elastic waistbands.
Folk seem ready for a new loosening, a new commitment to comfort, and a step away from old structures that no longer fit our softer, rounder bodies.
Rosa is about to loosen the structure that has kept a core part of herself hidden for far too long. It is not the pandemic itself that makes her ready. As a nurse, she has been familiar with the touch of illness and death for a long time.
It is the tender care she received from people who had no reason to offer it to her: they were not her relatives, they were not paid. They saw someone in need and responded. She realizes that her experience with being ill and recovering forced her to accept care and kindness. It forced her to recognize the reality of acceptance itself.
And now she wants – no, she craves – acceptance for her whole self.
She meets Franny at the apartment, where she spent weeks recovering. Both vaccinated, they are able to share coffee, sweet treats, and conversation without their masks.
The fresh summer air, blown in through the open window, caresses Rosa’s entire face, a sensation as delicious as the taste of strong coffee and raspberry scone.