Katy Van Sant tries to come to terms with the hostile invader that occupies her body.
I have COVID. I’ve gone from living during the pandemic, to being part of the pandemic. Things feel different on the other side.
When this started, my young stepson thought people were going to turn into zombies. He told us he was ready to fight them. I am a COVID zombie now. Hiding away. Alone in a house. Sweltering in the heat of another scorching climate disaster summer. Each night when I go to sleep, I am aware that I carry inside my body the virus that has wreaked havoc on our planet. It’s part of me now and may be forever. It’s in my blood. As I close my eyes it settles in and sleeps with me.
Recently, I went into town to get a hard copy of my positive test result. As I got out of my minivan, a shirtless, mask-less youth with a large backpack approached to ask for something. Through my double mask I cut him off, “I have COVID. You better stay away from me.” He jumped backward, eyes wide, and booked it down the street. We COVID zombies are frightening.
This morning I was feeling better, so I went outside to attack the vine enveloping our woodshed. Balancing on an old fiberglass doghouse, I reached upward with a flathead screwdriver and my slim fingers to remove offshoots that had grown within the grooves of the metal runner from which the door hangs, making it impossible to open.
As I worked at it, the vine became the virus. A wasp stung me, but I barely felt it. Was it the COVID in my blood? Or the me in my blood, making short work of the pedestrian venom of a simple wasp. Or was it my vaccine, making me immune to wasps? When the heat made my endeavor unwise, I went inside. But I’ll be back at it tomorrow, and I’ll finish the job.
With a Perspective, this is Katy Van Sant.
Katy Van Sant is a writer and Spanish interpreter from Oakland and Southern Humboldt County.