Contemporary Fiction Drama

   People don’t like to get too close these days. Everyone has been vaccinated that wanted the shot. But still there are those hold outs. Some think it’s against there religion others don’t believe in science. So, they are risking there own life because of there beliefs.  

   I took the subway today not many riders and of course no one sits next to you. I guess the thinking is who knows what someone else has now a days. There are still people wearing masks too. I would of thought that most people would be glad to give that up. But apparently some people are happy with that extra layer of protection.

   I guess it’s all understandable the world has been through a terrible ordeal. It’s been a year since I got my vaccine. Some people in the third world are still waiting. I know what they said that the vaccine was going to be free for everyone but there having problems with the distribution. I hope it does not take much longer.  

   There are all kinds of rumors about different viruses infecting people. I think the fear has not quite released it’s hold on us. One thing is for sure the world won’t be the same again.  

   The knew normal is working from home. Who needs the commute to the office if you don’t have to go to work. The office buildings are still somewhat empty. People are coming up with ideas of what to do with these skyscrapers right in the center of the city. The business district is no longer the bustling center it was. The ideas of what to do with the buildings are to build condo’s or hotels or assisted living facilities.

   Where becoming a virtual world. Our economy is shifting to. Oriented to the service industry and not much else. The economy is one thing I’d rather not talk about. Since l’m looking for work along with many millions of people.

   I had an interview on zoom. They said if i get the job they’ll ship me the laptop and modem. What it comes down to is I still feel isolated. There is this sense that everyone is taking care of themselves and loved ones. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be. All I’m saying is there is this sense of camaraderie that is missing. If you go to a ball game they put an empty seat between you and the next party. If you go to church people look at you funny if you sit to close to someone else. This type of global paranoia has continued even though the threat of the Coronavirus is mostly a thing of the past.

   I long to sit on a park bench next to a stranger and have a conversation about the weather. People talk about viruses now and the latest word on any possible threat. Not to mention sitting on a park bench with a stranger is out of the question. Too close contact with someone you don’t know. I hear people are having parties and weddings now but it’s not the same. The guest lists are only friends and family that are supposedly not infected with a new strain of virus. Clubs are empty apparently social media is the preferred way to meet your soul mate. There is very little face to face contact. Those plastic barriers at the bank and grocery store did not come down once Americans were vaccinated either. We’ve kept them sort of like a memorial to the virus.

   I meet Jen for coffee. We go through a machine to order our coffee and then it comes out a window with our name on it. We pick up our coffee and look for a seat. We find two that are not uncomfortable close to anyone else.  

   “So, how are you and how’s the job search going.” Jen asks me.

    “Great”, I say without any enthusiasm 

    Jen looks me straight in the eye and says, “you’re depressed aren’t you?”

   I shuffle in my chair and tell her the truth. “ This is the first conversation I’ve had with anyone for a week.” “ I just can’t get use to all this paranoia about germs and viruses.” “I’m feeling disconnected from everyone.”

   Jen told me she’s been reading a lot about mental health problems on the rise since the pandemic. Maybe it would be a good idea for me to talk to someone.  She hands me a card with a psychiatrist name on it. Jen says there are a lot of people having trouble adjusting to the pandemic being over and still we are doing things a bit differently.

   I thank Jen as we leave the coffee shop.  I don’t know it sounds like a bigger problem then just me. The whole world is different now and I can’t seem to adjust. Maybe the problem is I want to go back to the old way we did things. I’m fortunate I did not lose anyone close to me in the pandemic. I have friends that lost loved ones. I wonder how there adjusting to this new world.

   I think better of calling that doctor Jen recommended. Where just going to go through all I have to be grateful for and how things happen for a reason. Most importantly there is nothing I can do about the changes so I might as well make the most out of them.

   My depression may be coming from being reminded of the pandemic at every turn. All this no face to face meetings is reminding me of when it was dangerous. I know rationale that for some people working at home, over zoom is the most convenient way to meet. Also, all this attention to distance between people is reminding me of 6ft apart. All these unpleasant memories that we lived through may not be putting the peep in my step.

   An exhibit is coming showing the names and pictures of all the people that lost there lives to Covid-19. I think I’ll go to put things in perspective. All those reminders of the past are just the lessons we learn’t over the last couple of years. We can’t move forward until we deal with the past and let history put it in place. Forgetting would be like everyone and everything affected by the pandemic did not matter. It’s going to take a while longer for the world and everyone in it to adjust to this new reality. We can have a pandemic and grow in the aftermath of it.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

March 08, 2021 20:11

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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