“Ron is gifted,” my mother said to anyone who would listen. She’d gaze at my brother with such loving eyes, birds would start chirping, the sun would appear from behind the clouds, and Neil Diamond songs would play.
When she’d look at me, her wide eyes would narrow as if she was searching her brain for the right words. “And Keri. Well, she’s…. well-rounded.”
My brother was a present wrapped with a big red bow. I was a big red rubber ball.
In my mother’s defense, my brother was quite remarkable. The elementary school created the gifted and talented program just to meet my brother’s brilliant needs and ridiculously high IQ. He won spelling bees and earned honors playing the trumpet. No one ever created a program just for me; I was the first to sit down during spelling bees, and I’m tone death.
Today, my genius brother continues his winning streak even during a pandemic.
While attending a church meeting in March, my brother’s wife sat next to a woman who unknowingly had coronavirus. A few days later, my sister-in-law suffered mild cold symptoms, and a few days after that, so did my brother. Thankfully, they both were okay.
I, on the other hand, suffered from flu-like symptoms at the same time. Because our families were together at a party a day before my sister- in-law got sick, I thought it might be Covid-19, too. I was sure of it since I was way sicker than him.
My mother, still in awe with my brother after almost 50 years, called me one morning in April. “Ron not only beat that horrible virus with barely a cold, but he tested positive for the antibodies. Now, he’s going to donate his plasma. Isn’t he wonderful?”
I bit the inside of my cheek. My brother once again scored a perfect ‘A’ — this time in both long- and short-term coronavirus antibodies.
When I hung up the phone with my mom, I still had hope. I was confident I had more antibodies than him since I was much sicker. I would earn an ‘A+’ in antibodies.
Picturing myself donating my super robust and antibody-rich plasma, I ventured out for the first time in 10 weeks and took a trip to the local LabCorp to get tested.
Even the person drawing my blood was sure I was positive. “You were exposed,” she said.
A day later, I received my results.
Another ‘F.’ This time in antibodies.
I never told my mom.
— Keri Kelly
Keri Kelly is a professor, award-winning author, comedy writer and mom. When she’s not writing, Keri can be found surfing small waves with her kiddos and fist-pumping at the Jersey Shore. Learn more and say hello at www.kerikelly.com.