It’s like traveling to a foreign country, where you know absolutely no one, are confused about the customs, and don’t speak the language.
If you are a couple, well, here you are, just the two of you (and kids and dogs and cats and Zoom and portents of doom), coming face-to-face with all the things you love about each other, and all the things that drive you mad. In this strange country you have to manage the day-to-day of life: the meals, the schoolwork, the laundry, the colds (and the terror every sniffle brings), the tears, the bills, the dirty bathrooms, the video games, the tantrums (some of them yours), the whining (some of it your partner’s), the never-being-alone while being more alone than you’ve ever been.
If you’re single, well, you’ve been grounded. You’re not allowed to leave your room. No more hopeful nights in bars. That person you longed to get to know has drifted off into the miasma of facemasks and Purell. Your romantic partner won’t come to see you because he or she worries about exposing elderly parents. You still have your phone, which gives you a reason to live, but a video chat is simply not the same as an arm around your shoulders as you share a bowl of popcorn and a mediocre film.
Maybe you’ve lost your job. Maybe you’ve lost people you love.
Maybe your favorite restaurant has not survived. The movie theaters are closed. Broadway is dark. Even the bowling alley is shuttered.
Maybe you discover your partner’s chewing makes you clench your fists in rage, or the way they leave their teabags in the sink, or walk around the apartment eating a sandwich, dropping crumbs like Hansel and Gretel, the kids and the dogs becoming the sparrows following behind, doing a really dreadful job of cleaning up. Maybe their voice, demanding answers and reassurance, is the sound of a screech owl, or the rabbit under its talons. And why haven’t you ever noticed before they smell ever so slightly of old cheese and goats?
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