I’ve been so sick as of late it’s almost impossible to not think of my grandmother hooked up to her breathing machine in her final hours following pneumonia. In the waiting room at the clinic the nurse asks me if I want a shot for pneumonia and tells me I can get my flu shot at the same time, and that they are fine to be taken together, as nonchalantly as the machine they had my grandmother hooked up to, and I think to myself what could it hurt, almost like I’d already been through it and developed a natural immunity to both anyway, when we both knew I was putting on a doubtful face, not unlike the kind my grandmother would smile across hers whenever I asked her about Dad’s drinking and she’d tell me, well, you know how he is, he likes to think I can’t see he’s not eating the way he should be, when she knew eating had nothing to do with it. When my grandmother was a kid, she refused to wear a dress and hid from her mother so she could climb trees with the boys without getting into trouble. And when her mother did catch her, she’d go behind her back and run to her father and beg him to let her wear them and play with the boys until he’d say yes and make his wife so mad, she practically flew backwards up a tree like an irate squirrel. After that, my grandmother would rejoin her brother in the branches of rebellion, having got her vaccine from father for fighting off her mother’s conventions. Inoculated against the COVID of gender inequality. I’m healthier alone, I tell a girl friend of mine, and she says, she agrees that I’ve done very well alone, and that I shouldn’t settle for just anybody, but could it be I just haven’t found the right person? I say that’s a fair assessment, and that maybe I should keep my heart open just in case that right person comes along sometime during this, or, perhaps, another life. In one of the last conversations I had with my grandmother she told she me loved my grandfather who’d passed away ten years prior so much she went to church so she could spend more time with him, when church was never really something she believed in. And I guess I’m kind of like that, with this idea of waiting for the perfect one for me, in that I’m willing to believe it’s possible to find a soul mate, not so I can live happily ever after the way my grandparents appeared to for 55 years, but so that like my grandmother, I can protect myself against being taken over by viral outside forces, and remain connected to the part of me that believes in me, while holding its hand in the back pew of the church of right now.