Lockdown #13

All is quiet on the western front.

It’s 11:07 p.m. Now it’s 11:09. Sometimes there just isn’t anything left to say. 11:12. But I promised myself I would write something every day of this lockdown. If I don’t, my mother will worry. 11:15.

When I think about Day 13, not much comes to mind (obviously). Then I realize I actually accomplished at least two items on my 20-plus-item “To Do” list (which grows more and more bizarre by the day).

I finally read the washing machine manual, for example – every single word – discovering the meaning of all those mysterious symbols. I celebrated with a three hour and 12 minute cotton-eco wash. I also opened my Easy Spanish Step-By-Step book, learning that amable doesn’t mean amiable and emocionante doesn’t mean emotional.

Also, for the first time, I saw Underwear Man. I’d heard rumours about him from my neighbours. As I sat down for lunch outside, there he was, a rather large fellow with a very white belly wearing tiny black briefs. He strutted back and forth on the rooftop terrace to my right, talking on his phone.

A gift from Bitchy Neighbour, who is now Not-So-Bitchy Neighbour.

There’s a feeling of tiredness hanging over Bueu. Even the waves seemed lackadaisical today, crashing with more of a whimper than a bang. The cats didn’t want to play. When I weeded the patch of garden around the orange tree, just below Mercedes’ house, she didn’t even raise her blinds. In the past, she would have looked out the moment she heard a dandelion being tugged, offering her wheelbarrow to collect the piles of weeds, offering her advice about other areas in need of attention.

The last time I saw Mercedes, which was yesterday, she was wearing a mask and gloves and was in a hurry to get back inside after a trip to the supermarket.

The only child I’ve seen in the past 13 days has been peering out from behind a window.

And now it’s 11:44. And I am tired, too. The only thing I have left to offer you is a poem by Mary Oliver.

The Fish 

The first fish
I ever caught
would not lie down
quiet in the pail
but flailed and sucked
at the burning
amazement of the air
and died
in the slow pouring off
of rainbows. Later
I opened his body and separated
the flesh from the bones
and ate him. Now the sea
is in me: I am the fish, the fish
glitters in me; we are
risen, tangled together, certain to fall
back to the sea. Out of pain,
and pain, and more pain
we feed this feverish plot, we are nourished
by the mystery.

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