Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories here. Submit your own here.
They don’t need me I need them
I look out my back door, I gaze at the yard birds. I keep them stocked with food. They don’t need me to survive, but I need them. I need to feel a tiny bit of responsibility for the microhabitat of my backyard, I need to feel like I am helping in some way. It is so quiet, besides the house sparrow and red-winged blackbirds chirping and arguing. I feel helpless and out of touch with the normal flow of time and existence. But when I look out at my birds, I feel the ground beneath my feet again.
— Finley Baker (Lochbuie, Colorado)
* * *
I used to run to be a part of something. I used to run to be happy. Then one day I stopped. Who’s to say why, but I always felt as though something was missing. Now that my days are endless, within the same four walls, running has found me again. Now I run to stay sane. Now I run to see the world. My world, my neighborhood, becomes much more beautiful with each crack and crevice I pass. Running will always make everything feel alright.
— Talisa Flores (Fullerton, California)
* * *
Isolation gives cause to become curious about our personal, environmental and circumstantial contexts; the subsequent actions we enact from in-between these spaces have tangible impact upon the people we encounter and the places we traverse in life. How does our tending to various terrains shape our ways of being in the COVID-19 world? Something special happens when you find a co-lab-orator, co-con-spirator – more importantly when in isolation. Tending to ideas, imagining across sites and being curious through digital connections offers new spaces to create that were not found before. Being between opens a co-space.
— Kathryn Coleman & Abbey MacDonald (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
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On the final day courthouses were open I became legally divorced for the first time. Next week marks the one year anniversary of my then-new husband’s shocking departure.
Relying more on bubble wrap than good sense, I packed up boxes of his pans, clothing, his late wife’s ceramics. He says I broke nothing.
I’ve reorganized closets for one, bookshelves by theme, with no sweet mementos of us.
Yesterday I found six kitchen bowls, his, then texted him a photo. No ransom, I’ll deliver.
High road weary from giving, returning, and cheer. He says he loves me; this misery loves isolation.
— Eileen E. Schmitz (Sequim, Washington)
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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