When my friend the doctor called to discuss Covid-19 symptoms with me, he didn’t have much in the way of information that I didn’t already know. I had Google, after all. I can read medical studies. And so little was known then that mostly it boiled down to: The disease would either continue to get worse, or it wouldn’t. But a good conversation between two old friends is never simply about the exchange of information. There’s a rhythm to it, an arc, an undercurrent of emotion and history that makes each exchange its own kind of story, a small, impermanent work of art. Here for a few puffs of breath, and then gone.
Now that my wife and mother-in-law are recovered, I think of those moments at the end of my day with deep gratitude. The moments while my children cast magic spells born out of hope and fear, and the moments when my friend spoke to me of the science while I stood at my kitchen sink and softly wept, hearing little more complicated than one friend telling another, “I love you, and I care for you, and I am here for you and those you love.” Each night, after the spells were cast and the conversation was done, I felt more human, and more capable of performing the work ahead of me.
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor