I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I was afraid to walk into the building but my PGTips habit was visible even over Zoom calls.
There are only 30 cases of Omicron identified in the UK but one of them is in Spelthorne which is where my dentist Nick has his offices. So I double masked and I cleaned my hands and tried unsuccessfully to hold my breath.
The hygienist was in full PPE but my heart beat faster and I could feel muscle pull away when she told me about her recent family trip to Portugal to visit her hundred-year-old grandmother. I calculated the days in my head and convinced myself she was probably okay. In actual fact, the real risk probably came from the patients she saw the day before.
She picked up on my anxiety and put a hand on my shoulder. She squeezed my arm with empathy and said “Let’s get your teeth clean and get you out of here.” I realised it was the first real human touch I’d had in six weeks.
I can still feel its shadow.