Surgical Mask

Illustration by Mathew Borrett

Leslie snapped on xir surgical mask as Morgan impatiently waited for the van door to slide open. “The button on this van is just too damn slow,” Morgan whined. “The ones on the new vans seem so fast.”

“You could always take Wheel-Trans from now on,” Dana muttered. Morgan scoffed. “Good luck today!” Dana called, turning around in the driver’s seat to face Leslie. “And watch the vegetables!”

Morgan swung her cane out the door and rolled her eyes. “I’m not going to hurt the vegetables, don’t worry.” She hopped out of the van, and Leslie followed behind slowly, carefully stepping over baskets of vegetables between the seats.

Morgan was a small brown woman in her mid-twenties who walked with a small black cane. Leslie was a taller agender person who was much curvier and darker than Morgan.

“Good luck with the farmer’s market!” Leslie shouted pleasantly from behind xir mask as xe closed the door.

Dana lived with Leslie and Morgan in a kind of commune house. None of them could afford to live in the city anymore, and it just ended up being cheaper to split a mortgage in the suburbs outside of the city. Dana and the others had started a garden in the back, and they often used the van to also drop off Leslie and Morgan.

“Are you sure you’re up for today?” Morgan asked. They began to walk towards the elevator into the station as the van pulled out of the passenger pick-up parking.

“I’m just taking precautions today, don’t worry about me,” xe said tapping xir mask. Leslie’s immune system was compromised because of medication xe was on. Leslie nodded at Morgan’s cane. “What about you? Is your leg good for today?” Xir eyebrows raised, and xir tone was cheeky.

Morgan rolled her eyes. Her leg was never really good, but she knew Leslie already knew that. “All right, all right, I get it. You’ll let me know if you’re having a bad day.” She paused. “And I’ll let you know too.”

Morgan was born with weakness in her legs, so she had to be careful with how she much she used them, although she did learn the hard way. After a childhood of pretending she could keep up with the other kids if just tried hard enough, now her joints started to ache when storms began to brew, and she couldn’t stand up without grunting. She had always figured that she would have at least one more decade before it came to that, but that...

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About Mari Ramsawakh