High School in the Time of Covid

My daughter’s high school varsity soccer team, the Lady Cats, advanced into the playoffs — local joy against rising Covid rates and the election hurtling along.

I didn’t play sports as a student, the lone wolf who ran long solitary runs — pretty much what I’m doing now, except these are short solitary runs. But to be a kid on a local team who wasn’t expected to do well at all — that’s a big deal.

Friday, I’m home briefly in the middle of the day. My daughter and her friend have finished school for the day. In the living room, they’ve set up this year’s version of high school, each with their notebooks and a school-issued Chromebook, surrounded by piles of my library books, their cleats drying beside the wood stove. The room is sunny and warm, and the girls are intently working at whatever assignment — chemistry or algebra.

I fill my thermos with espresso and ask my daughter’s friend if she’d like a cup. I’m joking, but she happily accepts. I’d love an espresso.

So, in a little china cup painted with blueberries that my daughter once used for milk, I serve this girl an espresso, who thanks me.

Before I head out the door again, I look back at these two. I’m happy to be employed, heading to interesting work, on this sunny autumn day, in my Shire of Vermont. But goodness, I’m grateful for girls and warmth. The whole world matters — disease and political collapse — but this afternoon matters, too.

I open the kitchen door, call I love you, step out into the chilly afternoon, and close the door carefully behind me.