First dose

Yesterday I received my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

It was one of the first warm days we’ve had in Chicago after a brutally long winter. I walked to the neighborhood clinic where I’d found an appointment, and the most direct route took me through a park I’ve been visiting daily this last year—every morning with the dog, and often again at lunch or in the evening. It’s a park I’d barely made time to visit in the two years I lived here before the pandemic shrank my world. After the shot, the staff told me to wait with others in a large tent to monitor for allergic reactions. I encountered a friend whom I’d last seen before the pandemic at a bar that has since closed. It took us each a moment to recognize the other behind our masks.

I have to keep telling myself: Nobody knew the trauma that the year would bring, even when case counts started growing, even when we started hearing about events being canceled, even when I finally deleted my “List of plans to reschedule when things open up,” even when we went weeks and then months and then a whole year without seeing certain people. We take good news—like a first dose—wherever we can find it.

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