on the bright side

I have nearly a full roll of toilet paper.

I woke up at 3:16 this morning, but couldn’t move. There is nothing wrong with me physically, unless I am an asymptomatic carrier and the virus is lurking in me like an old wolf dressed up as me and my cells. Or if my son, who also appears not to be sick, shed the virus on me when I hugged him as if he were a ship with no compass after he finished eating last night and told me he was headed for home. He was in his slippers and was going no further than to where he lives; across the street.
It is wearying to live in constant and necessary fear of something you don’t know and can’t see.

It is my heart that is not winning the war. I called the heart ambulance. He wasn’t up yet, but he answered. I couldn’t say anything, because who wants to start crying before you even say hello to someone, so I just looked at him. And he was who he always is, like that rock connected to the earth’s core that shows itself in low tide. The sight of him is enough to remind me that this isn’t all there is. The world as we know it may have changed for better or worse, but this way station of waiting in a valley of uncertainty will not own us forever. The future will come.
Some of us won’t have the joy of seeing loved ones when it is over because they are gone–stolen during the siege–and we will have to gather around them. But hope will come. Hope will rise from the ashes.

I listen for it. I listen for it in the birdsong that travels easily now over the sound waves of city air. I listen for it in my dreams of the hot summer when we might be able to venture out again.

I try to grow it by planting everything from my kitchen cabinet that has the possibility of sprouting. My chances of success take a nose dive every time I dig it all up to check on signs of life, but the hope is worth a faster heart rate.

I try to capture it with yeast from used fruit, added to flour and water. The directions say to throw half away for the first five days before feeding, but I can’t bear to. I use what I am supposed to ditch, to make another. I hide the starters like Easter eggs all over the apartment, wrapped up in tea towels to protect them from the wide open windows.

I try to pass it along when I go out walking. I wave. Every smiling eye I get, patches the cracks.

My potted tulips are twice the height they were when I bought them a week ago. I just read how to save the bulbs for next year.

I found a stash of cheap candles at the deli.

Ferdinand is good.

I saw my friend Julia by chance in the afternoon, half way across the Polaski Bridge. I waved like crazy and slammed to a stop 6 feet from her and we chatted through our masks about all the news we could think of.

It was supposed to rain today, but the sun is shining.

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