by Contributor Barbara DeVries 

It’s always 4pm and it’s always Friday. The rest of time drifts in between. I do not live from Zoom to Zoom, I live from impulse to impulse. From checking the New York Times and Washington Post several times a day, as if I’m looking for something that can’t be found. Good news? Bad news? Or a pinch to remind myself that it’s all real and not just another Murakami story. The writer whose tales of parallel universes calm me down and assure me that reality is an unreasonable expectation. Several times a day I wander into the garden I built, and watch my vegetables grow. I’m more interested in their process than their outcome. I feel at one with them and wonder if they’re getting enough sun. Am I getting enough sun? I can’t seem to get beyond the clouds. I live from making meals and cleaning the kitchen and ordering and collecting food from parking lots where masked people try to go about with purpose. I disinfect. I wash my hands. I walk the dog. I clean the dog. I feed the dog. I feed the husband. I feed my daughters. I cook the same things over and over. Chicken - grilled, baked, sautéed, fried. Salmon - baked with lemon/teriyaki/mayo/onions/basil. Shrimp every which way. Potatoes. Rice. Pizza. Pasta. Noodles. Couscous. Mango. Avocado. Salads of many colors. I pickle cucumbers with cilantro from my garden. 4 months. 125 days. 120+ dinners? 240+ cocktails? Whiskey sour (as per Stanley Tucci), martinis with lychee/mandarin/olive/lemon/lime and a sprig of mint, or Vodka shots, sometimes in the afternoon, just because I can. At dinner we laugh we fight we cry, sometimes we play games. We wash our dishes by hand because the dishwasher broke. We argue over who ate the last cookie. Sometimes we watch movies together but mostly we retreat, the girls laughing, quarrelling, whispering upstairs, or outside in the dark huddled, the light of their cellphones lighting up their faces as they rate pictures of guys on Hinge. Safe and socially distanced dating. My heart aches. Where is their Mister Darcy? We joke, as bored boys race up and down the road on their ATVs. We have parties and dress up. We dance at the end of 14 days in quarantine. We hunt for treasures on Easter Sunday. We make art and write love poems for Mother’s day, Father’s day, and the twins’ birthday. The house goes from being my coat to being my armor. I feel bare leaving it behind. Twice, I drive into New York and back. I return depleted. The cars, the people, the violence of the speed at which we travel past each other. Coming home makes me happy. The thought of never leaving again makes me happier still. I watch two cardinals build a nest and try to stop the squirrel from eating their eggs. I wait for the pair to return but they don’t. In one day, we have a wasp infestation, the septic backs up, a power-out, and husband has emergency oral surgery. I didn’t think that Mercury retrograde could happen in time of Corona. I think I will stop thinking thoughts. Let them drift freely from 4 till 4 and Friday to Friday.

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