The pandemic isn’t over. No matter how often we speak of it using the past tense, or how strong our quixotic nostalgia for ‘how it used to be’. Despite how oddly clueless we are at assessing actual risk or how much we wish ourselves not to be one of the vulnerable, it persists as a background hum, or a piercing, unshakeable tinnitus. Plans have to change at short notice. Friends are bedridden for days, exhausted for weeks or months. The numbers of cases and deaths, now merely footnotes rather than headlines, continue whether we look at them or not.
Events change us. Or they have the potential to. Having grown up into a body that is visibly different, I can’t stop thinking about why difference is always considered to be other people, elsewhere, when in fact it is intimately close. It can be a way of connecting.
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