Today was our deadline. It was still dark when we hugged on the driveway. Your embrace felt solid, warm, stable. Within it I felt frail. We don’t know who is more at risk. You, with your chronic night cough. The insufficient protective gear. The leaky protocols. Me, with a relapsing and remitting immunological disease and on the wrong side of fifty. Children are supposed to be okay, but what about our middle daughter, the one with severe allergies, who is taken down for weeks, even by a common cold?
Four years ago, when mice got inside, I pulled everything apart to find their entry points, which were numerous. I plugged holes in the floorboards with Blu-Tack and taped over them. I stuffed newspaper behind the sink and taped over that. I wedged an old breadboard behind the kitchen cupboard to seal a hole in the wall, and ran tape along the base of every skirting board in the house. It worked. After a while, we no longer even noticed the tape.