Last week, as Joey and I lay in bed talking in the dark, the sky blew up. A sharp crack and green light through the curtains. We froze. After a moment, I crept to the window and looked out at the still night. “It’s normal,” I began to say. The sky lit up again, a snap of green filling the sky and then gone.
Reeling from a day spent inside, from the news just before bed that coronavirus was only going to get worse, I felt the world tilt. Maybe it was aliens this time, for real. Why not? Everything else I thought wouldn’t happen had happened. Joey said maybe it was the rare green light that comes with a sunset. I admired that he still thought of the sun in the dark.
I laughed, because there wasn’t much else to do. No one knew what was coming. Anything could happen and all we’d know to do was wait at the window for the next explosion. I thought of my life cracking open and apart. I didn’t know that world I saw, a green light and a boom at midnight without explanation.
It turns out that a transformer had exploded a few blocks over, two big booms and a power outage for the whole neighborhood. We walked by the spot the next day on the way to play basketball. It took a minute to even find the new transformer box in the trees. It was so unremarkable. We couldn’t believe something like that could make such a loud noise, could conjure aliens and sunsets at midnight.
The coronavirus shelter-in-place for me, so far: Going out to fly a kite. Empty shelves at the store, and the baby going berserk next door, and a woman crossing the street when she sees me running down the sidewalk. Worrying about everyone I’ve ever met and loving everyone I see from my window. Being pulled from bed to an unfamiliar sky. And then, after a moment, climbing back under the covers and willing myself to sleep.
What do we lose when we stop touching each other? The Hard Tomorrow - a graphic novel for our precarious and tender world. The Farm - beautifully rendered, dystopian, and too real. Corporate feminism leaves out so many women. When (almost) everyone stays home, in photos. Coming out as gay in China. “I had a dream that you told me I was waiting for a woman to love me. You said, ‘You shouldn’t have to wait for anyone.’” Identical twins find each other across continents. What it’s like to be on Naked and Afraid (it’s gross). The lingering of loss.
Watching and listening…
I cried at this moment of neighbors coming together. And at humans and animals helping each other. And at this little girl singing beautifully. And at this deer rescue. This Reply All episode provides an engrossing, triumphant escape for 51 minutes. I’m back watching Survivor after a few years off and it’s… so good. Favorite TikToks of the week go to this one and this one!!! I’ve mentioned this before, but animal cams are truly getting me through this time!! Bald eagles in Big Bear, deer in Maine, raccoons and skunks and birds in Ohio!
Brown butter chocolate chip cookies. Stretching. Making elaborate grocery lists. Learning a TikTok dance. Getting Creative Cloud for free. Writing down your dreams. Turning off the news for a bit. Letting your mind rest.
This week, time keeps going. The cats around my apartment building still brush against my legs. The sky turns brilliant colors around dinnertime. Rent is almost due, somehow. And I pray in some ancient, non-religious way, feeling the electricity of wishing under my skin. I don’t know what the world will look like after all this is over, but I know it will go on. Fish will swim in the Bay. We’ll try to make each other laugh. The sky will surprise us. Isn’t there so much sweetness in that?