by Catherine Weingarten and Celenia Lugo
7 a.m.: I wake up and stalk…I mean, check your Facebook. You commented on your friend Sarah’s post about making sourdough starter for the first time. You wrote, “I like bread.” I never knew women could be that articulate. So succinct, so…Hemmingway-esque.
10 a.m.: I watched you pick flowers in the community garden outside your apartment building. You held one up to your nose, and then immediately began laughing when you remembered you couldn’t smell…because of your mask. I, too, am nostalgic for the days when I could smell scents like your favorite perfume: Mary Kate and Ashley’s Coast to Coast.
12 p.m.: I stopped by my bookstore to pick up a few items, just the essentials: gloves, masks, a chainsaw. You know how it is.
1 p.m.: I go for a leisurely stroll and what do I find? You, having a panic attack near the Duane Reade. I wanted to comfort you (from six feet away, of course) but I only just started reading feminist literature and I thought it’d be more empowering if you did it yourself.
1:30 p.m.: I watched as you tried to comfort yourself by petting a dog in the local park, but the owner pelted you with scrunched up napkins in horror. She shouted, “Six feet, freak!” I didn’t appreciate the way she spoke to you so don’t worry…you can pet her dog anytime now.
4 p.m.: I decide to stop by the Italian Restaurant near my apartment. They make a pasta puttanesca that’s absolutely to die for (haha). I know you, Sweet Angel, are used to licking the inside of Chef Boyardee cans so let me broaden your horizons. I bought two servings; one for you, ex which I left on your doorstep, and one for me to eat while I watch you eat yours from afar.
4:45 p.m.: I notice a red stain on my favorite t-shirt (must be pasta sauce haha), so I rush to the one place that brings me the most comfort in the world: the laundromat.
4:46 p.m.: Shit! They’re closed indefinitely! I take off my shirt and throw it away. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this–I can’t just keep throwing away my clothes every time I get a new “pasta stain.” Life can be so messy sometimes.
4:47 p.m.: Someone cat-calls me; they shout, “You’re one sexy, Ted Bundy-looking mofo!” Wow. So rude and invasive.
6 p.m.: I throw away the pasta I left on your doorstep. I see now that just leaving a random container of piping hot pasta on the ground isn’t all that enticing. You’re smarter than that, you need more than that. I’ll just have to find some other way to remind you of my love for you. Maybe I could nurse a broken, baby bird back to health and perch it on your window-sill to wake you in the morning with its soft chirping.
6:01 p.m.: I Google the following question: Can birds carry COVID?
6:02 p.m.: We’re in luck–the results are inconclusive.
7:30 p.m.: I noticed you were out of hand-soap so I do what any sane person would do: I break into the apartment next door to your’s, steal your neighbor’s vat of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Hand Soap (they’ve been hoarding it, which I don’t think is ethical) and plant it under your sink. This is my declaration of love for you like Heathcliff to Catherine in our favorite book: Wuthering Heights. You’ve never read it per se but I’ve been reading it to you silently while you sleep, in the hopes that its prose seeps into your brain and heart subconsciously.
9 p.m.: I watch through your window as you dance in your PJs, the ones with the cute little images of lasagna on them. You’re having a Zoom Dance Party and you accidentally fall over and get caramel popcorn stuck in your hair because you’re clumsy. But, it’s cute and endearing. I wish I could help wash your hair and get the caramel out. When we can finally be together I’ll show you all my little tricks for hair-care.
10 p.m.: I’m sitting in your basement directly underneath your bedroom. Can you hear the sound of my heart beating through the floorboards? I measured the distance between us and it’s well over six feet, so this is definitely within the CDC guidelines. Oh, this is so frustrating! I hate having to keep my distance from you…well, more than my normal distance.
12 a.m.: I slink back to my apartment and set five alarms for tomorrow. I don’t want to oversleep because Thursdays are a big day for you. That’s the day you usually cut your toenails and I need to be ready for that.