What It Is Like To Be “Essential”

Each morning I am woken by the pit in my stomach
It intensifies until I get out of bed
I go through my routine, the pit is still there
Breakfast, coffee, vitamins
Shower, shave, dress

I leave the house for work, the pit sends a pang
A stop at the store is necessary this morning

Mask on face, I enter
Wipe the shopping cart
Quickly make my way through
Hit hands with some type of sanitizer

Get to work, wash hands, put on different mask
See patients, see staff — smile for the first time

We are in this together and all keep moving

Somedays the smile is genuine, other times it is another mask
Unless it touches my eyes, no one can see it
Humor and laughs are another veil

It is lunchtime, lock the doors, warm up a meal
Wash my hands for the 20th time

Eat alone, the pit is still there

Close my eyes for a little while
Get back a bit of sleep that eluded me the night before

Open for the afternoon, all the masks go back on
The routine is the same and it masks the pit
Wash hands that are dry and sore

Get home, wash hands again, and then a shower
I scrub and scrub and scrub

Eat dinner alone

Knowing I don’t have to leave the house tomorrow
The pit is a bit decreased, but it is still there

Read, write, watch a bit of television
Pet my little dog, she knows I’m not the same
Her expressive face is a reflection of mine
To keep from tearing up, I need to look away

Coat my hands with Vaseline
Go to bed alone, the pit still there

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is management of that fear
Right now, for just a moment, I wish for the absence

5 thoughts on “What It Is Like To Be “Essential”

  1. Oh God, Joe, I am crying… You made me cry… like you hit my heart and it is hurting…. I’m very much like you except that I am not on that roller coaster every single day, with other people. I am alone 24/7, even when my husband gets home…. don’t ask me to explain. I’m a realtor who can’t realtate! I can’t get people to believe in me; they don’t believe in anything right now, but to keep these masks, gloves, hand washing, medicinal things going… I’m so sorry you are alone, like me, even when other people are there…. I feel you, as I said before, I really do…

    Liked by 1 person

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