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Take 1:

POSITIVE.

The results glowed on the screen, taunting her.

Oh, man, she thought, there goes the next 2 weeks. All my plans, gone. Now I have to isolate. Damn. I wonder what Brad is going to think. I really hope he doesn’t catch this.

She thumped down the stairs in her socks.

“Brad, check this out.” She showed him the phone. “I can’t believe it. Now I have to change my whole schedule for the next two weeks. And we’re not going to be able to go to that concert Thursday. Dammit! I was so looking forward to that.” She sighed and flopped on the couch next to him.

“Wow,” he said, “that’s a surprise. Where do you think you caught it?” He scratched his beard. “Shit. I hope I don’t catch it. Maybe you should start wearing a mask in the house? Have you called your doctor? Maybe you could get a prescription for Paxlovid.”

DING.

Take 2:

POSITIVE.

The results glowed on the screen, taunting her.

Oh, man, she thought, there goes the next 2 weeks. All my plans, gone. Now I have to isolate. Damn. I wonder what Brad is going to think. I really hope he doesn’t catch this.

She thumped down the stairs in her socks.

“Brad, check this out.” She showed him the phone. “I can’t believe it. Now I have to change my whole schedule for the next two weeks. And we’re not going to be able to go to that concert Thursday. Dammit! I was so looking forward to that.” She sighed and flopped on the couch next to him.

“Wow,” he said, “I hope it’s not bad. My friend Joe, you know, from the office? He caught it at the beginning of the summer and got really sick. He had to cancel his trip to Spain. And the day before his symptoms started he was doing yard work for his mom. So she wound up getting it, too, and she was so sick she had to be hospitalized. Imagine being so sick yourself you can’t even visit your mom in the hospital? At least she recovered. Her best friend’s husband died.”

DING.

Take 3:

POSITIVE.

The results glowed on the screen, taunting her.

Oh, man, she thought, there goes the next 2 weeks. All my plans, gone. Now I have to isolate. Damn. I wonder what Brad is going to think. I really hope he doesn’t catch this.

She thumped down the stairs in her socks.

“Brad, check this out.” She showed him the phone. “I can’t believe it. Now I have to change my whole schedule for the next two weeks. And we’re not going to be able to go to that concert Thursday. Dammit! I was so looking forward to that.” She sighed and flopped on the couch next to him.

“Wow,” he said, “really? That’s from the PCR test you took yesterday? That really stinks.” He looked up, his warm brown eyes finding hers. “Honey, what can I do for you? I’m so sorry.”

She smiled at him. “Nothing,” she said. “That was everything. I love you.”

DING DING DING DING DING.

Heather Shaff

Heather is a book designer based in Boston who, when she’s not writing or taking care of the fam, can be found racing her bike, enjoying nature, or just daydreaming.

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