At the Height of the Pandemic

I

A man called my wife a cunt today. It was at the height of the pandemic. She was jogging in the park when she pulled down her mask to take a breather. She wasn’t the only one to pull down her mask today, but she guesses she was oldest. Her gray hair, she guesses, made her a target. I said, Maybe he thought you were an asymptomatic carrier. She said, No, he can’t bear a woman breaking the rules. I told her that if I could I would have a word with this man, and she said of course you would. You want to punch him. Why can’t you listen to what happened, she said, without wanting to punch someone? I’m not punching anyone, I said. It was at the heart of the pandemic.

II

Father Finley talks about grace as openness to the possibility that you could suddenly fall in love with everyone in the world. I used to think about this on crowded buses. I think about it now with empty buses passing.