For many people covid 19 has been a theoretical virus that others have. The virus that screws with the world economy and the freedom to roam around as we please. After two months of lockdown, the world regained some freedom or tried to take it by force, but at what cost?

We stayed away from most people and the world, grateful that we could finally bring our youngest daughter at home. We had one goal in mind: adopting our little Evelyn, and thus leave no room for questioning or suspicion regarding our health. We stayed away from neighbors, and we even limited the contact with my parents.

Nearly five moths have passed since the pandemic hit the world. The world is divided between believers and nonbelievers in the virus. I thought faith was exclusive to God. It turns out science does little to sway ones choice to believe or obey the protocol.

I’m pretty upset with the division I observe in my immediate community.

We’ve kept a pretty balanced atmosphere in our household. The girls run around laughing and screaming: “corona virus!” Our youngest reminisces at the dinner table how there was a time when the police would not allow us to come see her because of corona lockdown.

My friends in California have had a closer encounter with death, through their line of work. For many of them it became personal a while ago. They respected all the safety measures, and so far nobody very close to me has been dramatically or painfully affected.

A few weeks ago we learned of a cluster of confirmed cases. It saddened me and it sobered me further. My heart aches for the pain of my friends. We had to make many trips to town for non urgent medical treatments for my girls. My three year old has no problem wearing a mask. We keep nagging the self-awareness in what we touch and washing thoroughly as we get home.

But a week ago we learned that a neighbor’s family has been feeling sick with covid like symptoms. The father got tested. He was confirmed positive. They have three kids. We hadn’t seen them in three weeks. Close call, I thought. And then we learned a few days later that our nearby neighbors have been visiting them daily. Knowingly, they still care outside to play with the other kids. And that felt like a betrayal.

J yells “2 meters” jokingly or half jokingly. But if you’ve been in contact with a confirmed case of covid, you don’t rely on 2 m without a mask. Because as we know, kids don’t know how to play 2 meters apart.

Yesterday we went outside to ride our bikes. Well, the girls and Conrad at least. And the boy who has been exposed to covid kept following us. It’s uncomfortable and tiresome to discreetly keep the distance or constantly and gently reminding the kids to keep the distance. We went inside sooner than we had hoped. Last night I went with mama for a walk up the hill. Conrad joined us by bike. J and the boy followed us. Put their bike down and started skipping around, with us keeping reminding them to keep the distance. Again, we left earlier than planned. He followed. In front of the building, as we sought up with J and the boy, they were again off their bike, chasing a cat. Mama asked J to get her bike and either ride it or go inside. She sat there, confused, next to the boy. I was pushing Ivy on her bike and caught only the tail end of the discussion. Mama confronted the boy. She asked him if he knows the girls he’s been visiting are quarantined. He said yes. So why doesn’t he self isolate if he knows he’s been in contact with them. He said something about one more week… Mama said his behavior is rude and insensitive. He shouldn’t be around all the other kids if he knows he’s been exposed. His mom called me to ask what happened just as I was making dinner. She said she told him to keep his distance as she went up and left him alone downstairs.

This virus has a new face in our neighborhood. The face of distrust, discomfort, judgement, frustration. I realize how deeply it affects society. Because of the chilling wind of emotional distancing of which we were spared of in our bubble till recently.

I wondered how it looked. The faux pas. How it felt in the world. Where do people make mistakes, that the virus not only persists but it is more pervasive these days.

It’s frustrating that we have to push people away. I would be more reasonable to have people retreat by their own accord. Especially if they have been exposed and they know it.

Now all kids have disappeared completely from around our building. We’ll stay away as well. And our kids will adapt.

This is it. The rip in the fabric.

We will not come out the other side without a scuff. Socially, things have been shaken and sorted. The common sense, the mutual respect… let us not mock the choice to observe proper boundaries.

May God have mercy on us. May our carelessness not be counted against us. May we act respectfully and humbly and kindly. May we wear a mask and not worry about others mocking.