back in the world again

seven a.m. clear skies. twenty-one degrees. seventeen-mile-an-hour north winds. feels like six degrees. i take smellie for her morning walk. got my fists balled up in my pockets, a long puffy coat over quilted pants over sweat pants tucked into my boots. got my scarf wrapped around my head and tied under my chin. double masks help fight the wind. between masks and hat, a mere slit exists for my eyes to peek out. so ready to get rid of winter. today, even smellie seems done.

lonely roads on our car ride this morning. just too damn cold. i see one runner—a tiny thing—her pony tail bobbing, her own fists clad in thick mittens. then, on one stretch of road i see the carhart three-dog walker brave the frigid winds on his bicycle pulling a cart miles into town. i worry about his freezing hands. winter in maine can be unforgiving.

back at home, i resume my campaign for answers to ambiguous vaccine policy. in maine, kids like Calvin are falling through the cracks; they're not adults but are old enough to get the pfizer vaccine. i've bitched about it to the governor, the head of the cdc, health and human services, my state senator. people want to help but i keep getting the same non-answer. it's frustrating. still, i try to drive home the message.

on a second car ride in late afternoon i think about the past pandemic year. of keeping my head down. staying focused. treading water while spending eight to ten hours a day alone with a kid who can do nothing by himself. i think about going nowhere save a couple of friends' driveways and a weekend stay at a rangely cabin last october where and when calvin seized. still, i feel privileged: for one thing, i'm not sick.

at a curve in the road near a pond a news break comes on between songs. there's been a change in maine's vaccine rollout. next week people over fifty can get vaccinated. better yet, starting mid april, people sixteen and up can get a vaccine! i finish listening then switch stations to hear more music. there's a moody acoustic song playing. the lyrics i hear get me: 

every day when i open my eyes now

it feels like a saturday

taking down from the shelf

all the parts of myself

that i packed away

all i know is

i'm back in the world again

like the lift of a curse

got a whole different person

inside my head

no more trudging around

stony eyed through the town

like the living dead no

i'm back in the world again

it's the only way to be

i cry like a baby. tears flow down my cheeks. i leave them there to breathe while the rest of me exhales a year of held breaths. it's been such a long time of just trying to keep it together. of not being with people. of being stuck inside these four walls. of doing everything for calvin. i think about all the hugs i'll be able to give. the faces i'll be able to pinch. just then, the runner drives by and waves at me, snapping me out of my trance. i suddenly feel lighter. it's gonna be okay, maybe even better. i turn around and head back home. the wind has waned. it's nearly forty degrees. it feels like spring.

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