Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories here. Submit your own here.
Screens, a Window
Kitchen table. Eyes are stinging. Staring at a screen. Scrolling. Set up an online meeting. No one came. My job just melted away. A plate of half eaten carrots. On the fridge is the new school schedule. My kids are on their hour of free time. My son came home with a basket of everything from school, dumped it here and crawled into bed. My husband is working in the next room. Two screens. His head is in his hands. Out the window, my neighbor is in the sunshine, looking over her balcony. I have never seen her before.
— Laura Raboud (Edmonton, Alberta)
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Planting the beans made her feel like a woman in a fairy tale, the German kind, both magical and brutal. She and her son had bought the seeds years ago. They planted one, waited. Then he had taken the plant to school along with a chart marking its growth. She saved the rest. Now he was a senior and she was another kind of senior, which made her vulnerable during this plague. She planted the old beans in cans filled with dirt. She patted each down with a prayer. The day’s rain watered them. What did she have to lose?
— Lisa D. Alvarez (Silverado, California)
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Too Many Showers
How do you explain a pandemic to someone who is developmentally delayed and a little obsessive? He wonders why we can’t go out and why people have stopped visiting. We tell him it’s flu season, and lots of people are just sick and don’t want to get him sick. How long will that ruse last? If we explain in detail, he may start obsessing over the germ issue and possibly never leave the house again. Or obsessing over himself, and going back to six showers a day (after finally getting him down to two). It’s curious. Interesting times, indeed.
— Kera McHugh (Cumberland, British Columbia)
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I used to go to work. That made my dog sad. Now I don’t go to work. This makes my dog happy. It makes me happy, too. My dog and I are together all day long. We do not practice social distancing. We cuddle together on the couch. She sits by my feet while I eat. And we take walks. Oh, our walks. Through the woods, by the sea, around a lake, up a mountain. Time with my dog is the one good thing. Be safe.
— Andrea Lepcio (Bar Harbor, Maine)
This series is edited by Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.
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