Waiting for the Quiet
By Teresa Yang
They just appeared one day, these huge black flies rubbing their legs together as if anticipating a roast beef dinner. My husband accused me of leaving the front door open for too long and allowing the invaders into the house.
These days the front door remains closed. Any opening is strictly as needed and transactional, to grab the UPS delivery. I leave the package on the table near the door, where the hostess gifts used to sit, so any residual virus can die a natural death.
That Saturday, though, the door was ajar for a full ten minutes. I was excited to see my friend Flo. I hadn’t seen her since February, since our last restaurant meal in a crowded, overpriced Santa Monica eatery where the virus was surely replicating as it was being invisibly transported on the burrata salad plate.
Flo’s visit had purpose. She was picking up some medical grade masks, ones that, to my surprise, I had offered to procure on her behalf. Flo’s mother had a heart valve replaced last year.
Mother’s lost some weight, Flo said.
Even though I no longer have a dental office, I continued to cold call my suppliers in search of masks and disinfection wipes. Once I even awoke at 5am to call a national dental supplier on the East coast.
I saved my rationed purchases like lifeboat seats, risking trips to UPS during quarantine to send protection to my children and elderly father.
When Flo’s shipment arrived, I inspected the flimsy boxes for the telltale ASTM3 label and could find none. So, from my dwindling supply, I gave Flo some authentic ASTM level 3’s.
Reclined in the front seat of Flo’s car, her mother said, “I’m going to compare these to my non-medical ones.” I was glad I had switched the masks. Flo’s mother knitted and crocheted, her eyes expert at detail work.
The flies must’ve snuck in during those ten minutes. Continue reading “Waiting for the Quiet”