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Armen Bacon

A day in the life of coronavirus

I woke up thirsty at 3:30 in the morning with the soundtrack of “Happy days are here again” playing full volume in my head, comforted by the thought of Barbra and Judy harmonizing their iconic duet during this unthinkable pandemic. Taking a few sips of water, returning to bed, I slept in till eight. Grateful to see the sun shining, I begin my mental to do list on yet another day absent any mandates beyond cleaning household surfaces, washing hands while singing “Happy Birthday.” The skin covering my hands has wrinkled with repetition of washings – revealing blue veins of uncharted, untraveled highways, cracks, brown spots – resembling my mother’s hands near the end of her life. Repeatedly through this unthinkable period of sheltering-in-place I have selfishly thanked the gods for sparing her this angst. She would be fearful. Lonely. Knowing her spirit resides somewhere in a virus-free, parallel universe brings a spark of relief on this Sunday morning.

Walking outside to fetch my newspapers, the severe hush of quiet leaves an eerie aftertaste in my mouth, one I doubt even toothpaste and mouthwash can remedy. Tiptoeing on cold concrete, grabbing my papers, I scurry back inside to this place once my safe-haven, sanctuary, and now my jail. Like the rest of the world, we are on lockdown. Against the advice of my physician sister and even Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I do not Clorox or wet wipe the wrappers, do not wash my hands after touching newsprint. Instead, I pour myself a cup of French Roast and return to bed, contaminated newspapers in hand, soon-to-be sprawled atop the comforter – my Sunday morning ritual untarnished by this new chapter of life. Later in the morning, I scold myself endlessly for such social irresponsibility.

A few minutes later, deciding to shower – the hot water both calms and cleanses, a veritable balm to my weary spirit. I practice a yoga pose known as Anjali Mudra – a posture of composure, of returning to one’s heart, a gesture of prayer.

“Breathe, baby, breathe,” I whisper to myself – a trio of words I often resort to during troubled and uncertain times.

Later today my husband and I will take a walk and admire the blue sky, new blooms, a bird perched and chirping on the neighbor’s treetop. Tonight we dust off the Scrabble board that, for years, has patiently awaited our touch and attention. Together we will spell out the words that matter most: hope and home, life and love, family and friends.

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