Christmas in the Era of COVID

Christmas. The culmination of an exhausting year. Preparations. Banquet dishes to be prepared. Conversations requiring attention. Navigating sensitivities when sleep would be preferred.

I feel like I’m still experiencing the after effects of the Moderna booster vaccination after five days. And maybe just exhaustion from all that came before. I performed a rapid test for COVID, just to be sure. Negative again.

After lunch at a neighbour’s with the in-laws we were supposed to visit the elder of my two younger brothers and his family of seven in the afternoon. But the younger brother came down with covid and, as they were close contacts, that was cancelled. It was a relief not to travel, to be honest.

This was the first day we could swim in the backyard pool this summer, after we spent the week restoring it from a green cesspool. But it was also the first Christmas in 15 years without an excited dog sniffing out treats around the tree. He drowned in that swimming pool. I put a flower by his grave in memory.

It was a lonely Christmas for our other pets. The Siamese algae fish has been terrorising the guppies and by today only one remained alive, cowering inside an ornament. I removed him to a separate bowl, so now the two fish are alone. I don’t know what to do.

Fish… In a break from tradition, we ate salmon sushi and prawns for Christmas dinner, just the three of us.

The other two want to travel tomorrow. I don’t feel like I have the energy for it. Meanwhile COVID cases rise to unprecedented levels in the community and the threat of isolation only increases. The others just don’t appreciate how troublesome that will be. It is all too abstract for them and so I am cast as The Grinch.

Floating in the pool, watching storm clouds gather overhead, my body aching from the activity of the last term, my mind the same way, wondering what storms lie ahead in our future, COVID or otherwise.

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