The virus came and I broke.
"She's falling apart," I heard it said - horse's mouth and all.
"Don't let it steal your joy."
"You can't control other people."
But the news kept coming all day and night, lurking in my pocket and on my countertop, full of doom and gloom and always refreshing itself.
It was there, but some said it wasn't.
Confusion and anxiety presided over morning reports and stressful coffee as endless bad news reigned.
Cases, cases, cases, death, death, death.
Neighborhood walks meant meetings with neighbors - more than usual because suddenly everyone had escaped outdoors - but the usual easy smiles were gone, replaced by tension and resigned shrugs from six socially distanced feet apart. Seems like six miles, if you ask me.
"What can you do?" Nobody knows. It's wild, that much is sure.
But me? I am broke, and the sadness has come in. My once boast of being immune to sadness, despite my family penchant, pisses me off because now I can't even muster a fake grin for a neighborhood teen I pass on the trail.
I tell her, too. No hiding it. Sorry kid, I just can't do it today. I've got nothing cheerful or encouraging to say as you're wasting away when you should be in school. Nothing from this adult, should-be role model. Lookit, I just panic cleaned all the doorknobs in my home, shaking hands and all.
It was despair. I told my mom so as I paced my driveway. It was sadness, I admitted to myself as I lay sprawled in the backyard, spread like a sun angel.
And then came Mother's Day, and the warnings of family gatherings and urged precautions of face masks and distance, distance, distance, and I broke again, but in the opposite direction.
"Are we not hugging? Is this how it is now?"
So we start our interrogations.
"Who have you seen?" - No one.
"Where have you been?" - Just the grocery store.
"Did you wear a mask?" - Yep.
So we blow a bubble and we climb in - safe. Fingers crossed.
Then time goes by and the virus gets comfy, and we become restless, fatigued, and over it.
And me? I did eventually come back from the brink, recovered and renewed, full of faux wisdom and nonsense when it comes to COVID.
But the despair has moved on - at least the deeper, soul-grabbing parts of it - and I have returned. The masks seem here to stay, at least for the time being, but I speak and I smile and the life is back in me even as so many others have lost theirs.
Corona has not come and gone; it sticks around like the bastard that it is. But I've been fixed up fine.