“A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” True, I’m quoting a Disney song, but after raising three daughters, it’s hard to remove the Cinderella residue.
Back in my youthful days of collagen and deep slumber, I was an elaborate dreamer. Maybe it’s aging or too much screen time, but I rarely dream at night anymore, and I miss the bizarre antics of my subconscious. But every once in a while, the old dream machine kicks back in. One night, in the earlier stages of quarantining, I had the most vivid dream that, thankfully, did not involve a biology class I never attended or a flight I would never catch.
In this dream, I was courageous and unstoppable, arguing passionately for the inclusion of a certain statement in a children’s book about the coronavirus. It was not clear if I was the editor or the author. But I had power and was not afraid to use it.
The statement we were debating described the scientists studying Corona, the misunderstood little virus. I was on fire, insisting the copy must read “And the scientists, most of whom were women, said ‘Aha!’” That phrase, “most of whom were women” had to be included, or the whole publishing deal was off.
My future Newberry-Award-winning children’s book about the misunderstood little virus contained whimsical, colorful illustrations that would delight both child and adult. I dreamt the vivid illustrations in exacting detail. The spiky coronavirus molecule was especially charming, even though Corona originated as the villain.
As we know all too well, Corona came along and ruined everything. No one could visit their grandparents, play with their friends, or go to soccer practice. It was all this nasty little virus’ fault.
The scientists, most of whom were women, worked every single day to find a vaccine. Everybody wanted a vaccine, even though some were too little to understand that word vaccine actually meant a “shot.” With a needle. But the bigger kids didn’t even care if they had to face a needle. They would gladly take that shot, just so they could start having some fun again.
Nobody could find a vaccine that worked. Nobody liked Corona.
One day, a black man and a white man saw each other in the hospital. They were old friends, but at first they barely recognized each other. They both had coronavirus. “Is that my old friend Joe?” wondered Sid. “Is that my old friend Sid?” wondered Joe.
They both were so happy to see each other, they slowly crawled out of their hospital beds, and greeted each other.
“Maybe I’d better not hug you, Joe,” said Sid, “because I (cough cough) have coronavirus.”
“That’s okay if you hug me, Sid” said Joe, “because I (cough cough) have coronavirus too. What have we got to lose?” The two friends shared a giant bear hug, with as much strength as they could muster.
“It’s okay,” said the healthcare workers attending to them. “We’ll allow it. They are both pretty sick but neither has seen any family in a long time.”
The virus molecules swirled around Joe and Sid while they hugged. Some of Sid’s molecules left with Joe, and some of Joe’s molecules left with Sid. (Cute illustration here of all the little virus molecules waving bye to each other.) The funny thing is, the very next day, Joe and Sid were healthy.
And the healthcare workers thought, “Hmmmm.”
Joe and Sid told all the other patients what had happened. How the next day after their hug, they were well. And to prove it, Joe and Sid did a lot of jumping jacks and pushups. After that, all the sick patients started hugging.
Some patients got better, but some didn’t. The healthcare workers started making a chart. And they started tracking why some huggers were cured and others were not. Finally, a pattern emerged: Only when you hugged someone who was different than you, did the virus go away.
The scientists, most of whom were women, devised all sorts of experiments to study this phenomenon.
Of course, social media being what it is, rumors quickly spread: The way to cure the coronavirus was to hug somebody different than you.
The scientists, most of whom were women, figured out that you only had one curing hug in you. In other words, one generous person couldn’t hug 100 different people. The cure would only work one person to one person.
The scientists, most of whom were women, figured out that it didn’t matter if boys hugged girls, or girls hugged girls, or boys hugged boys. All that mattered was that physically, two people couldn’t look alike. You had to be different.
What a frenzy the world was in. Everyone was rushing to hug someone with different colored skin. They hugged each other tightly and they didn’t let go. It felt pretty good to hug somebody different. Some people even decided to hug and kiss, just for good measure. As long as nobody matched, sick people were cured, and healthy people were considered vaccinated without ever having to get a shot.
Life could resume. Sports, playdates, concerts and weddings could happen again, once the scientists, most of whom were women, said “aha!” Every person only carries half of the antibodies needed to ward off Corona. But someone who looks different has the matching molecules. It’s like one special lock and one special key.
The world stopped blaming Corona for everything that had been ruined and cancelled. The whole world realized they needed the little virus to make us realize how much we all loved and needed each other, especially when we looked different on the outside.
That’s the happily ever after ending of the imaginary children’s book. And I woke up before the issue resolved about adding the phrase “most of whom were women.” But I’d like to think I won the fight to keep it in there. It works.
The next day, I was walking, socially distanced of course, with my good friends Ariele and Leslie. I told them all about this dream and the imaginary book.
“Oh wow, we have chills!” exclaimed my friends. Fortunately, not the kind induced by illness. “You should totally do something with that,” Leslie suggested.
“I wish I could,” I replied. “but — the hugging and kissing part. We’re supposed to be staying six feet away from each other.” Dr. Fauci would not approve. But then again, who knows what Mrs. Dr. Fauci would say.
It’s interesting to note this happened prior to the protests and rallies that followed the tragic death of George Floyd. But I’m no soothsayer. I’m pretty sure this little dream resulted from enjoying the wonderful yard signs all over Orinda that read:
In This House, We Believe
Black Lives Matter
Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
No Human Is Illegal
Science Is Real
Love Is Love
Kindness Is Everything