Before Now

Alle C. Hall
2 min readJan 25, 2023

flash nonfiction

Before the virus, I had for a long while accepted that between my husband and me, I should be the one to die first. My husband is far more active in the community; if he died before me, I reasoned before the virus, plenty of people would come to his funeral. I worried that only ten people would attend mine. Then I realized that the same large number of people would come to my funeral in support of my husband. Either way, our respective, somber gatherings would look as if both of us had led exemplary lives surrounded by the people we loved.

Before the virus, we would kiss in our kitchen after the kids left for school. Before the virus, they left for school.

I heard on Rachel Maddow that experts were estimating that the death toll from the virus would come in between 200,000 and 1.7 million people.

Even before the virus, statistics annoyed me in their general application. Before, the odds that one of my children would be kidnapped were approximately one in 300,000. The odds that I would choke to death were approximately one in 3,400, Good; I would rather choke to death. The odds of my children surviving this virus are 200,000 to 1.7 million divided by how much I love them. I would still rather choke to death. I am not comforted by the fact that now, as no one leaves the house, their chances of being kidnapped have dropped to zero.

I miss those kitchen kisses.

Before the virus, I could hug my sons, kiss them if allowed — they are sixteen and thirteen. I could leave my room. I am not too concerned. My doctor said it sounded more as if I had a different virus, one that would respond to antibiotics. Yesterday, she sent me for the test. I won’t know for three to five days. Before the virus, I was a glass-half-full kind of gal. In the middle of this virus, I am trying to drink from that glass.

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Alle C. Hall

Author: As Far as You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back: 1st Place: International FireBird Book Awards: "Literary" & "Coming of Age"