My wife’s been gone for days, visiting her father down in South Carolina with her sister. He’s been having some long-term health problems, and so they drove down from her sister’s place to clean their parents’ tiny house, fill the freezer with food and generally lift his spirits, all of which went very well.

It was on the road from Beaufort back to Raleigh that my wife and her sister learned that their father had tested positive for coronavirus. That happened today. And our entire world has gone aswirl.

First concern is for my father in-law, who suffers from COPD. He’s asymptomatic right now, and has scheduled a second test for tomorrow morning. More reporting is needed.

Then there is the matter of my wife, also asymptomatic, but who has just spent the last five days with her parents in a 900 square-foot house. She took her test this afternoon in Raleigh, where she’ll be staying with her sister until those results come in, within 24-48 hours. She could be there as long as five days; if she gets sick, she could be there for two weeks.

It’s the uncertainty that’s driving us mad. Of course, uncertainty has been a hallmark of the Coronavirus Era from the very beginning.

But it’s different when the virus is staring you in the face like that, brushing up against your life and knocking the pieces asunder, circling closer and closer like a hawk above a field of bunnies that won’t even see it coming until its shadow grows large on the ground.

We’ve learned much about the virus itself in the 10 months since it’s been active in the United States, yet we are still deeply unsure of its accumulated effects.

Can our hospitals keep up? Which businesses will survive? When can I get a vaccination? How long will this last? What happens if I get it?

In my own little fold, we await test results, make plans for remote work, delegate household responsibilities and, really, just try to hang on for another week or so. We’ll know more tomorrow, even more the day after.

Beyond that, we cannot see.

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