You realize the smallest of human interactions add up to a lot, when they’re all collectively taken away. It was a long March. The March they hung three rapists in India and plotted against the virus outside. The virus outside was vicious and unforgiving, and all anyone ever spoke about. Every news channel, every website, at work and at home, outside at the grocery store. Momentarily they nodded at the rapists being hung and expressed their thoughts for or against capital punishment, but then they got back to the virus. Of ways to avoid it and what it had done to the economy and how everyone would get fat during the quarantine. Of ways to keep your immunity up and anxiety at bay. Of the lost lives and lost jobs and lost time, statistics we tracked closely and continuously. Back to the economy, a moment of thoughts and prayers for the doctors and nurses and others fighting at the forefront but not for the silly people who dared step outside and catch the virus and spread it and die. All this extra time on hand but not a moment spared for those who fought for their lives in vain, because we had the economy to worry about, and also the living.
I never wondered what it was like. I never thought to wonder. There was so much new to process, the days looked different and the different began to slyly seem perennial. Scattered people on empty roads, masked and gloved, walking hastily to their destinations that could be one of three – to the grocer, the chemist, or back home. Some of us walked hastily to a friend’s house for grass and vessels to take it in. Some of us still risked booty calls. All of us understood that none of us bought flowers for those we loved. This was hardly the time to express love with grand gestures, and hardly the test one should put love through.
He had started smoking again. His hair grew longer and his nails, shorter. I, on the other hand, ate for two and lost weight from worry. Some nights I would cry because there was there was little to laugh about. Other nights I would cry because he was being kind and polite and understanding and I didn’t have it in me to continue with the sanity. This little bubble of time had come like an unwelcome guest, scheduled to leave in three weeks but with no tickets booked.
We learned to cook a thing or two. An easy pasta recipe, a decadent French toast, one for him and one for me. I don’t miss my house, but I miss things about it. There’s a pigeon’s nest outside the window of my living room. I used to eat breakfast everyday and watch her protect her eggs. I once leaned way out the window and craned by neck down to see how many there were. Three, smaller than the eggs we eat. The mother pigeon stayed in the same position for hours, not moving a feather. Days, maybe.
I wonder if the nest is still there. Although why wouldn’t it be?
Here we have each other and we have a balcony that feels like we’re outdoors. He plays the guitar in the evenings and some days I paint. The days overlap and intersect in strange ways. I may not individually remember them enough to look back on them fondly, but if I were to be reminded to them, I’d look back on them fondly.
We’re all here sitting in our nests patiently, indefinitely, trying to keep warm the ones we love. It’s not the worst of times after all. March has ended, and this will too.