It sunk in. Both the needle and the fact that life had indeed changed. I turned to my left and looked at her. She, the same Black woman who had administered the first, and this time I tucked her name away into my memory, having forgotten it in the excitement and overwhelming feeling of gratitude I had then. The same smile. The same calming, warm personality.
I got up and walked to my left as instructed.
I found a seat in one of the rooms and proceeded to settle in for the next fifteen minutes.
“9 am, you are welcome to leave. If your slip says 9 am, you can now leave.”
A batch of us got up out of our seats. I grabbed a sticker on the way out that was being offered. A circular one, striped with a rainbow. Inside of each stripe in various languages: “I got my COVID-19 vaccine!”
A keepsake. A tangible remembrance.
At 9:03 am I was on the street and walking home after just 23 minutes.
Things have changed.