A sunset captured by Thomas Lake at Yonah Mountain.

On a dark road in Georgia, a stranger cried for help

Updated 8:34 AM ET, Fri October 23, 2020

In a series of essays called The Distance, Thomas Lake is telling the stories of Americans in the pandemic. Email thomas.lake@cnn.com if you have a story idea.

(CNN)Five days after the roadside incident, I took my first coronavirus test. I felt weary and brittle, my head and joints aching, a flickering pain in my heart.

"I've heard that it hurts," I said to the blue-gowned woman who held what resembled a very long Q-Tip.
Thomas Lake
"I wouldn't say it hurts," she said, through my open car window, beneath a white tent outside an abandoned Kmart, "but it is uncomfortable, for sure."
She jammed the swab up my nose. It was uncomfortable, for sure. She twisted the swab. A tear rol