A Monday Tinder match, they met on a Tuesday. Both suspicious of a cold - she a sore throat, he a tickle. She was overjoyed to find him attractive in person, he was disappointed she was not. But they got on well enough and after a drink, they stomped up the hill to watch the rain roll in swathes from the sea’s horizon. They got wet. Laughed. She gleefully asked for a second date. He agreed.
By Thursday the virus had staked it’s claim. They reacted differently, she with a nose full of phlegm, he chestily coughing. She’d borne her excitement but lack of sleep had intensified emotions and the fever was running high. He’d taken his disappointment and quickly rearranged it into potential for a new friendship, a slow burn of infection.
Rain again. Their motif apparently. He welcomed her to his home, allowed her to roam and pry, make ginger and lemon toddies. They trotted out, trotted back, soaked again and laughing. They drank wine, enjoying the warmth of each other’s good company. A good kiss before bad sex.
In the morning she paid the toll with hangover and snot. Made a breakfast he politely ate. Cold egg on cold toast. His desire to get outside stoked by sunshine, he rallied her for a breezy bike ride to the waterfront. Books in a phone box. Viaducts and candy carts.
A third date was agreed. The weekend first, each alone, nursing their needs - his for a last night of the holiday treat, hers for emotional nourishment lacking. The virus worked through both of them, linked by illness, separated by design.
Monday again and it was too much. She’d become crazy with sleep-deprived inaction. He’d become resolute to resolve the misunderstanding, the slip into physical comfort would not be repeated.
It ended. Two small tears sprang from her eyes. A sad and cautious drive together, he confessed feeling no spark. She’d felt too much.
Their colds abated. His cough cleared and her sniffles stopped. Two days later, she felt purified and sent a message: ‘Yes let’s be friends. I could use more friends’. He complied.
A smudge of particles on a door knob, unseen and unknown, the infectious agent awaits the next hand to grasp the handle, to rub their face and let the virus in. A new host to inhabit, to replicate, grow and spread, a hot little disease.
Author Notes: This is a true story.