"Are you sure you can't stay home?" I asked jokingly, as my husband put on his shoes.
"I can't. I'm a hero now. I must keep our nation fed!" my husband declared with gusto.
I laughed. This "essential worker" thing just might be going to his head, I thought.
The lighthearted banter, however, masks a serious situation. Work from home is not an option when you manage a grocery store. So, off he goes each morning to make sure his customers have what they need. He works long hours writing orders, stocking shelves, managing employees, and waiting on customers, all without the benefit of even a shred of personal protective equipment. He does it because he has to. He does it because he wants to.
And I worry.
Worry that one of those customers, one of those employees will be sick without knowing and pass on Covid-19 to my husband. We don't have the luxury of youth to afford us the ability to shrug off the thought. We can't say, "I'm young. I'll be fine." I remind him each day to stay away from people as much as possible and to wash his hands every five minutes. He nods and agrees, but I know him well enough to know he's just humoring me. Sometimes, I want to remind him, it's good to be paranoid.
Each day, I sit in the comfort of my home and spend my time learning a whole new way of teaching. Through the walls I listen to the sounds of my sons' voices as they pass the time away, connecting to friends the only way they can, over internet lines. Here, I want to believe, we are safe. Then, I think about my husband still out there, still vulnerable.
And I worry.