If you ask me, I’d say I’m fine.  That no one I know has died, that no one I love has gotten horrifically ill.  I have a job that I can do from home, and a nature suited to long stretches alone.  I’ll say I’ve gotten used to things the way they are.

And I believe I mean it.

But then I started having the dream.

I’m with my friends Esra and Susan.  We’re having Sunday brunch at The Yard in Shadyside.  Our plates are piled high with eggs and bacon and we’re drinking from the bottomless Bloody Mary bar.  And we’re not just having brunch, we’re celebrating.

We’ve had dinner but never Sunday brunch at The Yard, and I hate Bloody Marys.  Yet there I am, living it up.

For months the dream at The Yard recurred.

This pandemic will end, my subconscious tells me.  All pandemics do.

The dreams expanded.  My best friend’s husband making us all chicken wings in his new Ninja fryer.  We’re eating them around their patio fireplace while the kids show off their soccer moves.

Sitting in a cool, dark movie theater with a bucket of popcorn.  I’m always watching the second Twilight movie. (Don’t ask me, ask my subconscious.)

It’s the first cold day after a hot summer, and I reach into a coat pocket and find a crumpled-up mask.

“Remember these?” I ask a blurry companion.  In the dream they were a memory.

This pandemic will end.  All pandemics do.

I’m in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd at PNC Park, watching the Pirates win a Wild Card game.  Rowing down a stretch of the Allegheny river.  Hot dogs at Carnivores.  Fourth of July picnics.  Coffee dates, late-night real-life conversations, and rainy days reading at the library.

I wake up and it’s all the same, but every day the dreams get closer.

Except for the one about the Pirates winning a Wild Card Game.

We’ve got a vaccine, but not a miracle.

This pandemic will end.  All pandemics do.

It won’t be long now.