he still hasn’t had it

with Keine Kommentare
Kira Binder ◄
© Pixabay

He still hasn’t had it
my younger brother bears the weight of every touch on his skin
he can see where something has touched him, he says
it’s the principle of contamination
covid has not been kind to him
he fears the disease, in theory
i’m vaccinated, three times already
i’m recovered, more recently
statistically, i pose no threat
he does not look at me, regardless
it’s disgusting, he says, and it’s the sickness he’s referring to
but i wonder, how disgusting am i in his eyes?
when i hug him, his entire body starts to tremble
physical touch no longer reassures him
in the end, he complies
it’s his way of caring for me, i notice one day
he’s saying, hah! i can still do this
he’s struggling more these days, i can tell
the people are idiots, he says
they are getting more careless, i comment
i care
at work i wear my mask
“you know, you no longer have to wear one”
thank you, i know, i don’t mind wearing it
but what if grandma got sick
let’s say, theoretically, you are the only person who can take care of her
like, i’m saying everyone else is dead or something
would you take care of her?
he’s wearing a mask, he avoids my eyes
we are sitting at the kitchen table, when I ask him
we’re at home
no, is his final answer
and he meets my eyes dead on
so he wouldn’t, i surmise
my brother washes his hands religiously then
i think he does it even more often when he’s uncomfortable
but i don’t know, and i don’t think he knows either
he doesn’t use the cloth kitchen towel, other people have dried their hands on it already
how can he trust them to have washed their hands properly?
his hands are already chapped and red, probably bleeding
after drying them on a paper towel
he uses more hand sanitizer
i can see it seep into his wounds but he doesn’t even react
it might hurt me more than him
what a selfish thought to think
he doesn’t allow my pity, but he yearns for the attention
i get it
in his class, he receives special treatment
he chooses where he wants to sit (near the window)
he is allowed to hand in his assignments a little bit later
(if he stays home due to a corona case in class)
the school cares
his classmates don’t care
i don’t think he has many friends
his condition puts him at the center of attention
it makes up for the loss of social interaction
doesn’t it?
it is the social factor, he told me once
he concludes that the disgust he feels must be reciprocated by them
by whom?
his former friends, his teachers, me
i don’t find you disgusting, i say
i can tell that he doesn’t believe me
if he were to get sick, they would all shun him
oh the irony
sometimes i force him to talk about it
it doesn’t feel great to actively make him question himself
i’m no professional
i wonder, does it make sense in his head
can he justify his behaviors in face of his own judgement
fear is learned
it’s not a rational fear, it was learned
it can be unlearned then
but how do you decrease a sense of awareness
my brother fears the hypothetical virus more than any actual illness
he finds his peers gross and lives in isolation
my care is unwanted
at this point, i am unwanted
he doesn’t make it easy to care anymore