I started writing a draft of this while taking the class Writing and Motherhood, taught by Sally Bittner Bonn, courtesy of Writers & Books. The prompt was borrowed from the essay, "What Pain Wants," by Sonya Huber (Pain Woman Takes Your Keys, And Other Essays From A Nervous System, U. Nebraska Press, 2017).
Quarantine wants your children to forget what their grandmother's cookies tasted like.
Quarantine turns off the alarm clock of your career, winks at your reflection in the bathroom mirror well after 8 a.m. You are older now than you would have been. You look older. A face of worry, despair.
Quarantine whispers to stay inside, stay safe, in a barely-there voice that sounds vaguely like blessings, like crystal, like wind chimes: a voice you can hear when you turn on the news, turn off the news, the radio, the dishwasher, the vacuum. When you open the windows for fresh air, even though it is 34 degrees.
Whispers that the monster might be living on that box of cereal you've finally relented on buying the children, never mind the cavities; on the car handle, on that grocery cart--no, that one. Smiles at your pocket-sized hand sanitizer, how darling.
Quarantine sing-songs to take careful care of all the things, the things that go in and out of the house, secretly hoping you let your armed, Clorox guards down, miss a spot.
Quarantine reminds you that there are better ways to die.
Sips a Soixante Quinze while you worry your mouth into a believable smile.
Folds the days, like fresh linens, into one another, to be neatly stored away with the other things that one day shall pass.
Envies the good ol' days when no one suspected pandemics of being racists.
Despises your creative surprises for birthdays and new babies; is shut up by the boys chanting Torah and the Church of the Epiphany gathering online. Is silenced by Song.
Is gutted when you toast one another, on FaceTime, you've made it through another day, with that etched, antique, champagne glass held high in your hand.