Swab both sides. Swirl in the tube. Twist on the cap. Drip, drip, drip.
I set the timer for 15 minutes and watch the liquid slowly seep from right to left across the test window. It’s been two weeks since my seven year old twins tested positive for covid. Two weeks since I’ve been at school. Two weeks since our house divided: infected upstairs, healthy downstairs.
The red line under the “C” starts to darken, but the space under the “T” is still white. Eleven days ago a line appeared almost immediately in that same space after I noticed my throat felt dry and decided to check. Eleven days ago I pulled my blankets up and spent several days sleeping away the tiny virus that I’ve spent the last two years avoiding.
At first I was angry at the friend who kindly shared the virus with our family. We have been above and beyond cautious ever since the pandemic broke out. We have followed all of the rules and guidance and science. Did we really work that hard, just to catch it after two years and three months?
But now that we are safely on the other side, mild symptoms behind us, I feel relieved. Like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The low-level anxiety that has hung like fog in my mind for more than two years has dissipated. The timing couldn’t be better, really. Now we have a little extra protection for a few months, gifting us a more carefree summer. I already have a list in my mind of places I want to go, all the places I’ve been avoiding. This summer is going to feel “normal.”
Dah-dah-dah-duh. Dah-dah-dah-duh. Dah-dah-dah-duh.
I turn the timer off on my phone and head back to the bathroom to check. At first glance I still see only one line. I pick up the small plastic rectangle, tilt it back and forth in the light to check for any faint signs that I’m still infected.