This essay was also inspired during Sally Bittner Bonn's class, Writing Motherhood, through Writers & Books. The prompt was Karen Russell's "How the Coronavirus Has Infected Our Vocabulary," (Dispatches From A Pandemic, The New Yorker, April 13, 2020). Nb, my software does not recognize the words "lockdown" nor "coronavirus" and has underlined them in squiggly red; I'll have to add these to the dictionary.
Let's make the cinnamon buns this morning. Let's celebrate. We are together. We have time.
This is how to quickly cook an egg in the microwave when you are in a hurry.
Today, let's hike and catch frogs.
Today, we're going to finish your worksheet on contractions.
Take your time.
Do not contradict me. Please. Don't.
Yes, being 'apart together' does sound backwards. This is an oxymoron.
Today, we're going to have a family meeting about new chores. You need to learn how to dust properly.
Let's talk about dinner this week. This is how to make a grocery list.
Let's not catch something we don't want.
Today, let us say we're sorry to each other and this time really mean it. Try again.
This is how to properly wash a piece of fruit.
Your skin smells perfumey. Like an old lady at temple with a purple hat.
You need to separate the light from the dark from the towels.
There is a right way to do laundry.
This is how to divide fractions. No, wait--I'm wrong. I'm sorry.
I don't know. I do not. I do not remember.
Let's take the afternoon to write real letters to people we love. Please, it's not hard. Do it for me. Just try.
Slow down, please.
This is how to make a capital T. Try again.
Yes, division is like backwards multiplication.
This is cursive.
Let's have breakfast for lunch. Let's have dessert for dinner.
Let someone else make dinner. How about you?
You made a simile.
There is no one right way to divide.
You need to be in your room right now. Please. Separate yourself.
Take one-quarter of an hour.
This is how you take space and recover.
You need to come here. Please. Let me hold you.
You need to wear a mask.
We've is we have. We'd is we would. We'd have is we would have.
Let's be sad together.
This is how we recover.
I'm really sorry.
I am so sorry.
Let's try again.