Updated: Jan 13
It was Christmas Eve and I was eager to get home for my family dinner.
I was waiting at the bus stop when an odd looking microbus pulled up and I noticed people who regularly took the bus with me in the evening boarding, so I walked to the front of the bus and saw that it was indeed the number 23 bus so I hopped on board.
Noticing the much smaller bus had already began filling up, and not wanted to sit so close to other passengers even though they all wore face masks, I chose to sit next to the driver who was the "real-life" DHL driver who delivers packages in our neighborhood.
"Smokey Joe," as we call him, due to the fact that he smokes in his delivery van and all the parcels he delivers to our home reek of stale cigarette smoke, was just as surprised to see me on his bus as I was to see him driving it, but he gave me a friendly smile as I sat down in the passenger seat beside him across the narrow aisle.
Looking back, I noticed my friend Melina sitting at the back of the bus. Spotting me, she smiled and shouted out something in Dutch that I didn't understand but in turn made Smokey Joe laugh. Turning to him, I asked if he could translate what my friend had said though his translation into English made no sense to me, but I smiled and played along as if I'd understood him.
One by one, the bus dropped all the passengers off at their homes and I remained as the last one on board.
We arrived at a large building that resembled a convention center or large indoor sports arena where the COVID-19 vaccines were being given.
I asked a woman who appeared to be coordinating things at the front door where I had to go and she told me I was in the first group and to stay where I was while she counted the people who had just arrived. She started counting people using a small metal counter that she clicked once for every person she counted, but I was sure she didn't count me and I wasn't about to interrupt her to see if she had counted me.
Just then, she turned around and told me I could get into the line that had already begun getting the vaccine and I began to panic slightly.
The line moved along very quickly and before I knew it, I was next in line and the doctor, a dark-skinned India-looking man, asked me to roll up my sleeve, but I stopped him to mention that I suffered from allergies and asthma and that I had recently seen on the internet that the Pfizer vaccine may cause serious reactions for people with allergies. The doctor told me it was fake news and that the vaccine was just as safe for me as it would be for anyone.
I proceeded to nervously roll up my sleeve as he brought the syringe to my arm.
Then I woke up.