All You Have

When I had covid, I didn’t know it.

It was June. I was finishing an accreditation review of a program I was launching. Staff meetings, interviews for students, supervision of students. I was home with my oldest son who had covid and I was waiting for it. But I was good.

My oldest has always been generous with sickness, and I’ve gotten every sickness, with one exception, that he’s had in his life. Including allergies somehow.

So, when it came to covid, I wasn’t surprised. In fact, I was testing with 24 hours in between after the appropriate number of days two and three times. My at-home tests coded negative.

I had been vaccinated and boosted as had my boys. The oldest had been to a birthday party of a friend who also had made it through much of the strange days without contracting. The party was a celebration.

I drove him knowing he had it after a couple days. Since it was a week the youngest was at his mother’s, we stayed home as soon as his test confirmed it. So, his quarantine became mine. I had no symptoms.

Then, I ate something that I love, a four-chocolates bread pudding from a spot in town. I knew how it smelled in the microwave, knew the notes on my tongue from all four of those chocolates. I looked forward to it. It was the household favorite and I’m unashamed how much I support that business.

It was after bedtime. It was my time. I was settling in for my treat. I thought nothing of the fact that I hadn’t smelled it. I was moving from the front room to the kitchen. I was in motion. You miss things when you move.

Then, I ate the pudding. I felt everything. Every texture. As I chewed, it was so physical that I felt the dessert like I had never felt it before. I chewed slowly, my colleague would say mindfully. All the bits on my tongue and along the path next to my teeth where I need the dentist to clean, all the grooves where I’d floss and rinse sweet brown before bed. And I couldn’t taste a thing.

I felt what I couldn’t taste. I remembered the taste. I knew what it was to be. I searched my tongue for what I remembered in my mind. And as I chewed, I felt sad and I knew that I had covid. The next morning, I went to immediate care where they confirmed what I knew.

I’ve thought about that many different ways. The point I’ll lift here is how necessary it was for me to remember what I couldn’t taste, to recall to mind what I couldn’t detect on my taste buds, to enjoy the memory of my treat when I couldn’t fully enjoy it as accustomed. I enjoyed as much as I could.

Sometimes, all you have is what you have. Enjoy it. Enjoy yourself. Your tastes will be satisfied soon enough again.

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