Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories here. Submit your own here.
The Womb Space Speaks
Mothers have the natural ability to nurture anything and an exponential capacity to love. So, I settled on the joyous idea to plan for another. My husband and I debate about adoption and bringing another human into an uncertain world. I’ve been uneasy about the whole thing. Climate change isn’t a tiger scratching at our front door. Then, the virus talk started. Now, we stay close to home in hopes a silent killer who can walk through walls doesn’t creep into our lungs. I love you, you courageous unborns and mothers to be. I love you so much.
— Victoria Carranza (Atascadero, California)
* * *
My cat who was dying last week has revived and is chasing a ball through the living room. Twenty years old with kitten glee, but wiliness, too, from experience. Obsidian. We call him Sid. I say we, but it’s just me here, and the cats. I find myself using the plural to feel less alone. I’m not alone: four cats, various gopher innards and lizard tails to clean up, the occasional, oh God, hummingbird feather.
If one must stay home, as I must and am and shall, cats are better than television, when they’re awake. And not dying.
— Molly Fisk (Nevada City, California)
* * *
I look, I wander, I see: eyes climb the neighbor’s tree, the fertile grounds screaming for spring, and as I take the brush for a walk among the branches, the ants, the bugs, the birds yet to sing, we both wonder, persimmon and I, on the summer breeze and the beautiful days to be.
— Lígia Oliveira (Portugal)
* * *
Sheltering in place, New York City. I bike, repeatedly, to visit my girlfriend; she bikes back. Biking is strange, even scary. Pedestrians are everywhere, together and separate, on the sidewalks and the bike path, each jockeying for aerosol-free private space. For several days I am pissed off at the bike path intruders; why don’t they walk or run where it’s safe… away from me and my pent-up bike? And then it hits me. Community space is under renovation. Let it go, I tell myself. Slow down. It’s a new world, maybe a kinder one? Do I have it in me?
— Michael Chase (New York, New York)
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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