Quarantine Day 5: (Friday, March 20)
“What did you find today?” I asked as my husband entered the kitchen with today’s groceries. “Could you find what I needed so that I can bake? What about fruit?”
“Give me a minute, please,” Hugh answered as he wiped his muddy boots on the mat.
“These two bags are all I have, so back off. And I completely forgot to pick up the newspaper, so I’m going back out.”
“Sorry, but I’m eager to get to work. I don’t dare tell you I’m getting bored, because what can you do. But yesterday you told me some shelves were bare and I could hardly believe it.”
‘Believe it!” he roared and then, more calmly, said. “Did not mean to growl at you, but it is crazy out there. I’ve never seen anything like it. You’d think we lived in a third world country. My mom used to tell me this is how it was during the war, with things like meat and butter being rationed, but I never thought such a day would come in my lifetime. Our economy has been booming.”
“Oh, right, it’s the greatest it’s ever been. It’s been tremendous. Nothing’s ever been better.”
“Don’t start. He’ll be re-elected, just wait.”
“Oh, God, please, no. So, what were you able to get from your list? Was there any fruit?”
“Yes, I did get fruit, but no berries again. Bananas, but you may want to use them soon. Maybe add banana bread or muffins to your baking list. And grapefruit was there, lots of grapefruit. Probably because not so many people buy it now, knowing that it interferes with those drugs people take to lower cholesterol. I did get you a present,” he answered, handing me a magazine, one of my favorites.
“Thanks!” I smiled, taking the publication from him and putting it on the table to read later on. My women’s talk show started a few minutes later and while I watched I’d continue knitting the wedding afghan I’d nearly completed. Meanwhile, I helped empty and put away the rest of the groceries, noting the tiny bags of flour he’d brought home.
“This is the only size you could find?” I asked, holding up first a 1 pound bag of white bread flour and then a second small bag of whole wheat flour. “I already have whole wheat flour, a large sack. Is there really a shortage of flour?”
“Would I have bought that tiny bag if there had been more?” he snapped, then smiled apologetically. “Look, we’re going to be stuck here for at least another week together, maybe longer; don’t jump down my back. I’m doing the best I can with what’s out there. I did get us some lovely fresh tuna to make pokè and almost everything else you asked for, even those chocolate yogurts you love.”
I walked over to Hugh then, wrapping my arms around him in a tender hug. Social distancing did not mean that a husband and wife couldn’t interact in a loving way, even if he had been out in the world, interacting with other people. So far, no cases of the virus had been diagnosed in our county, although it was in nearly every other one in Connecticut. We’d been limiting contact with others except for outdoor walks with each other or with friends who lived nearby. Texts and phone calls, including FaceTime ones with the grandkids, had been good ways to connect. Our last church service had been Sunday; future ones were cancelled until just before Easter and that timing was likely to change. Even then, there had been Morning Prayer instead of Holy Communion and no passing of the peace, just smiles and nods and verbal greetings, with everyone spaced about 6 feet away, the new norm dictated by social distancing. My Bible study group had met Tuesday through ZOOM, facilitated by our techno savvy Education Director. It was good to see and speak with each other as we’d shared the ways we’d been dealing with the closures of everything, first the sporting events, then the schools, the churches, and finally, except for take-out meals, the bars and restaurants. Leslee had reluctantly postponed the family trips she and Chip had planned and two of the women were busy entertaining and teaching their children now being schooled at home.
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Submitted by Kimberly Black on Sept 23, 2020