The following is FICTION inspired by all those overwhelmed by our new #hometogether #coronavirus life. There are tender, precious moments in each task. We can find them, we can find hope.
If I stop for a minute and think about the day ahead, I’ll collapse, right here, on the floor, next to that puppy-chewed chair leg.
I stare at the pressure cooker on the counter. It hisses, and I lift my hand in salute, then slip my fingers round the coffee mug, breathing in the warmth from chamomile spice tea.
My mental to do list lacks boxes to check off, but I know where each item slides into the day. And which things will have to wait until tomorrow. I snort at my stupid thought, of course it doesn’t work that way!
Jeans flip and clang in the dryer as I scoot past, on my way to the check on the kids. How quiet they are, I muse, as I peek into their side-by-side rooms.
She, on her bed with colored pencils tossed on composition books, doodling her way through math, and he, on the floor, two dinosaurs facing off, demanding that they spell “attack” before they fight.
Both look my way, an instant smile, and then it’s gone. I nod to them and return their cheerful look. But inside, deep, near my ankles, I feel the worry rising.
One peg gently stacked on another, rounded edges perched precariously that if I stop for a minute, the world tumbles, never to be righted again.
My cellphone chirps. Is it from the roofer saying they’ll be right over to fix the leak, or perhaps the bank, apologizing for over drafting our account?
I consider the screen in front of me, mentally gambling the likelihood of either. Of course, I lost that bet, it’s an auto email reminder about the 2 pm meeting, with my zoom code.
If I stop for a minute, I’ll throw lunch off schedule, which in turn, would eventually seep into no time outside for the kids before reviewing their schoolwork.
Passing through the living room, I gently nuzzle the puppy’s sleeping head, the one family member whose life appears carefree. She yawns, rolls onto her back and modestly flops her tail.
The joy she’s brought us…I shake my head, don’t go there.
My phone buzzes, confirmation that I’m not dreaming, stuck in some god-forsaken nightmare that is a cross between the Big Brother TV show and Orwell’s 1984 Big Brother concept.
Buzzes, chirps, omgosh, it used to be reserved for wildlife, outside, not a human distortion of something beautiful.
Back in the kitchen I notice the refrigerator door open. Did I do that? I push it closed and shake off the goose bumps.
The tea is tepid, and as I sip, I stare out the window.
I stop for a moment, and watch the squirrels chase each other across the lawn, and up and down the oak trees.