Phone Conversation

Sunday afternoon finds me talking to the Vermont Department of Health contact tracer about my daughter’s positive Covid test. My results, he determines, haven’t rolled in yet.

I’m at the dining room table, chipping wax off a candlestick, doodling on a piece of paper. He asks where she’s been, and I answer honestly, school, home, and the woods.

Through the window, I see a cold rain falling. He tells me about the potential for what seems to me an incredibly long quarantine period for myself, if I don’t test positive. If I do, well, that’s a different kettle of fish so to speak, he says.

What you’re saying, I clarify, is that there’s no good options here.

He pauses.

I apologize immediately. The good thing has already happened. Covid has washed right over my daughter with the lightest touch. My other daughter is vaccinated.

I answer all his questions. Then I ask, Wait and watch?

It’s maddening, he says, but yes. That’s where you are.

The wind bends the pear tree in our front yard. We’ve endured plenty. Our house is warm, stocked with firewood and food. And so it goes.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

23 comments

  1. Good luck!
    Our bussing in the NEK was just cancelled fir a week due to high transmissions. Cases are up at all the schools….I agree with your statement that that there are no good options.
    But, our weather is better than a year ago, and even with this rain and snow, the woods are a great place to be! I hope our sugaring season lasts and that your family successfully navigates your lates pandemic challenges!

  2. Well this was a shock to read. I am hoping that, between the results, you can take some nice walks and soak up nature. Wishing the best for you and your daughters. XO
    I have a cousin who is 21 and at college, and COVID also brushed right over her…

  3. Oh, Brett! I am so sorry. A similar scenario happened to my family. My sister had to close down her salon because of an exposure to a family member who tested positive but who had little to no symptoms. The quarantine period and loss of business (again… because she was “non-essential” when closures happened last spring) nearly drove her mad. She tested negative but it was still impossibly long to comply with the Health Department’s requirements. I am happy to bring you anything you need and do a doorstep drop-off. Please let me know! (802-224-6577) Also….I have extra vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, echinacea/goldenseal, and elderberry syrup if you’d like some. Sending positive thoughts to you all.

    1. Thank you so much, Kristin! Fortunately, my older daughter was vaccinated in March, so she’s our connection to the world. I know this could be much, much worse, as neither of us currently are really sick at all. My sympathies to your sister. The VDH requirements are substantial, to say the least…. Hoping you’re all well.

  4. The number of adolescents testing positive is certainly rising. We learned out grandson tested positive back in October, but we were not told. He is in college and was quarantined for two weeks and had little to no symptoms. The waiting and wondering is hard no doubt. Sending positive and healing thoughts for all of you.

  5. Much love from the other side of the world (New Zealand). I’ve followed you for a couple of years, since discovering you via Ben Hewitt. I follow because I love the way you write, and because you write so beautifully, I feel a connection to you and your daughters. I am so sorry you are going through this and will be thinking of you and sending ‘good vibes’ your way every day. 💕

    1. Thank you so much for writing in. I so appreciate hearing from you. I often wonder who’s reading my blog, and I’m happy to hear there’s a fellow Ben Hewitt fan reading my writing on the other side of the globe.

      Very best wishes to you…. Brett

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