There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it. It brings hope; it brings the promise of normalcy. It brings…

Oh, dang. It’s a train.

At least that is what we all expect will happen after the year we’ve had. This month we officially passed the one year mark for the worst pandemic in 100 years. It’s been a year of quarantining, and shutdowns and surges, and unbelievably unpleasant political rhetoric and events.

So when the wife and I got our second coronavirus vaccine I said to her extremely cautiously, “Is this it? Are we allowed to hope now? Can we hug our children and grandchildren? Do we even remember how to live normally?

“Honey, honey?”

“I’m sorry, dear,” she said pulling out her earbuds. “I was listening to my book ‘Squeeze Me’ by Carl Hiaasen. It’s hilarious. You should read it. Now, what did you say?”

“I was wondering since we now have had our two COVID shots, can we ask people to ‘squeeze me,’ or must we remain socially distant and antiseptically neurotic.”

“Oh honey, I’ll be happy to squeeze you. You just say the word and I’ll get all Burmese python on your hiney. BTW, a Burmese python is the leading character in this novel, ergo, ‘Squeeze Me.’ I love that. But, to answer your question, I really don’t know. There are a lot of people who haven’t or won’t get vaccinated yet. There are a lot of new weird variants of COVIDcoming out now. The medical experts expect a surge after every holiday, sporting event, and now, spring break. Who knows when it will be safe to return to normal?”

“So that light at the end of the tunnel really is a train?”

“Not necessarily,” the wife surmised. “It could be a colonoscopy scope. I believe you’ve written about that before. Or it could be a spotlight on a stage starring you. Or it could be…”

“A big frickin’ AmTrak locomotive with a trainload of COVID carriers having cocktails and singing COVID carols spreading their germy particles and aspirations from state to state without so much as a mask on their infectious maws.”

“Wow,” the wife said. “Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You really did, which is why I left the marriage bed last night. Where is your usual positivity, your upbeat attitude, your delightfully annoying sense of humor?”

“Python ate it,” I said. “After a year of being squeezed into a tiny world of fear, and health regulations, and elections, and isolations, and insurrections, and impeachments — I am spent. Like everyone else, I need a light at the end of the tunnel that won’t run me over. I need a light of hope.”

Sensing my humanness, my vulnerability, the wife walked up to me and squeezed me.

“It’s going to take a little while longer, honey, but things will get back to normal, you’ll see.”

Then she kissed me on the cheek and squeezed me again.

By the way, I did read Carl Hiaasen’s book “Squeeze Me.” D-lightful.

Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at RaulAscunce@gmail.com.

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