But when the page fills, he feels his breath taken, his shoulders slump. Domestic violence on the rise. Another shooting, this time at a crowded church. A child missing has been found dead, the parent the likely culprit. Warships drift menacingly in the South China Sea. Around the country, new cases of the virus are hitting record highs, forcing states to return to their previous restrictions. Fights over the need to be wearing masks, with cashiers and clerks feeling the brunt of the frustrations, have become commonplace. And in many areas, despite the warnings, people gather, setting the stage for a price that will be paid down the road.
With a heavy sigh, he looks to the side, letting the sun warm his face, the sounds from the backyard warm his heart, before turning back.
In another city, in another state, a police officer has taken the life of a young unarmed black male, sparking more demonstrations and adding fuel to the fire of those demanding defunding of policing agencies. Rubbing tired eyes, he leans back. While most answer the call to protect and serve, there are those who have let hate or bias blind them, leaving heartbreakingly spilt blood to stain each and every officer’s uniform. Including those who have died living up to that sacred oath. With another sigh, he stands and shuts down the computer.
His wife, hair still wet from her shower, steps in, setting a hand on his shoulder. “Not exactly Emerald City out there, eh?”
Shaking his head, he turns and gives her a kiss on the cheek.
“Have you looked out back?” she asks.
“Not yet. But I’ve been hearing it.” He slides around the counter and pulls the curtains aside. He can’t help but smile as he watches Brandy, their golden retriever, chase Mandy and Rebecca, their two girls, round and round and round the oak tree, the dog’s bark and the girls’ giggles providing the googled definition of happy.
Of the way things should be.
If only there was a way to bottle up those giggles, that happy bark. That’s the vaccine the world really needs.
With another glance at the clock he tucks in his shirt, slips on his Kevlar vest, and pins on his badge. Giving his wife a kiss, much longer this time, he slips out the door for a hug from the girls – and dog – before heading off to work.