Windows :: My View from Quarantine and Other Stories

Windows :: My View from Quarantine and Other Stories

Lucas and Mae are in love, but prefer to walk separately. 

Mae, several feet ahead, staring back at her husband of 27 years, as she jogs.

Backwards.

They keep eye contact, but he makes sure to scout the area ahead for any danger.

She looks back at him. I’ve seen her mouth moving, I can’t hear her words, but I imagine they are more taunting, than encouraging.

Mae is a bit of a tease.

I like to think that’s how their life has been. He’s looked ahead, kept her safe. She winks and doesn’t fall in line, keeping him wild.

Lucas and Mae. The dream team. 

Full disclosure :: I do not actually know these people.

This is just the narrative I play in my head, while I drink my first cup of coffee and watch the same couple walk by my kitchen window. Every single morning. 

Since the world changed. And my views, with it. 

Windows :: My View from Quarantine and Other Stories

I want so badly to complain. 

There is a lot to say about the forced closeness of the past three months. And negative things speak the loudest when confined in a tight space. Much easier to forget the good parts when you leave them alone in a corner. 

I’m very aware that I’m on the more fortunate side of this mess :: I am a stay at home mom, our jobs are secure, and my children are young {still in school, but I’m not having to teach equations or correct sentence structure}. 

Doesn’t make things hurt less; I can’t curb my pain. And everyone with a mental illness knows a bit about hiding. 

It does nothing for us. 

We’re just stepping out of National Mental Health Awareness Month. And I am a person who suffers with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I don’t mind talking about it. It’s one of the healthiest ways {I know of} to be a part of the world and reach for someone’s hand. 

Right now, the struggle to just exist in this new space is crushing at times. The loss of control is hard on someone that thrives in that realm. So, while I am trying to teach two children very different things, I allow my gaze to drift to our dining room window, pass the two plants that I’ve killed {slowly}, and the peacock that hangs around. 

I look at the world outside, how it is continuing to spin, and I keep my peace by these brief encounters. 

Patrick always arrives before lunchtime, he’ll pass our house two times before he’s done. 

An older man, white hair pouring out the sides of his hat. And always, reading a book. 

He walks quickly. Much quicker than I could if I was engrossed in a paperback. I stumble easily without a distraction. 

But the best thing about Pat, is that whenever he crosses someone’s path, whether on the same side of the street or not, he stops reading, waves eagerly, and smiles with all his teeth. 

It is the most joyous exchange you could ever witness. I giggle every time. 

Then he continues, head down, book open, fastest walker this side of the bayou. 

Doesn’t care what you think, either. He loves his books. Unapologetically. 

And this is my favorite part :: it’s a new book, every single day. 

He continues walking out of eyesight and I am left looking at Kindergarten math and sight words. 

Most afternoons, I throw the kids outside. 

It’s easier to wash the dishes that way. And I am gifted the perfect view. 

I’ve watched their confidence grow through this glass. Both on big kid bikes, displaying their independence, while I watch from afar. 

It’s a big step for all of us. Especially, the world’s most paranoid mom.

I even get some panicked smiles and over-eager waves as they fly by. 

Sometimes, I daydream here. Which, I guess, I haven’t done much in the past year.

Not that I don’t have dreams, but more so, I didn’t have much time to explore them.

Right now, time is weird. We have a lot of it but also, not nearly the kind we need.

It feels… heavy. The extra time. Like there is a rule about how to handle it properly, but no one quite agrees on the consequences, so it sits on our shoulders and softly howls when we try to unload it. 

It’s a gift that I keep failing to open. But as a gaze out the window, watching my kids grow and challenge themselves, I’m reminded that there is still plenty of time for my own big plans. 

This is just a pause. 

My husband knows that the sound of the jeep means it’s time to wrap up those work e-mails. 

The parade is starting. 

And even though that engine sounds rusty, Caleb, my new favorite, sandy-haired 3 year old neighbor, is in the lead, as always. In some charged-up kid jeep. The kind my kids still lowkey hold against me for not bringing into their own childhood. 

There’s two men, two more kids on scooters, and at least 64 {probably just 3} small dogs on bright colored leashes. Sometimes, there is music. Most times. 

And every single day, no matter what I failed to complete or do, they make me smile. They are the only ones that wave to me. Don’t seem to mind my creepy stares. 

Last but not least, the feline will make a late evening appearance. 

My dog’s greatest threat. And perhaps, after two months of these window pane visits, his best friend. 

He barks. She sits and stares. It’s a whole big thing. 

Something they both rely on. 

But it’s almost time to step outside. 

There are many emotions and scary thoughts I’ve hidden away from these past few months. And I never thought that was my style. But when the world changes, so do you. And that’s not a bad thing. 

I have learned a lot from giving up and staring out my windows. Because that’s kind of all I have had the strength for. 

I’ve thought about my own relationship with my husband. How we have grown over the years, how much I adore that face of his, still. More than ever.

How I couldn’t have gotten through this craziness without his laugh, his steadiness, his hope. 

We’re a bit like Lucas and Mae, that way. 

I’ve learned that my kids don’t need my nonstop attention or supervision. Having so many of the same kind of days, led them to exploring more. And me, letting go. The window helped with that, too. 

And we DEFINITELY need to take more family walks around the neighborhood. Form our own little parade and bring joy to others. Wave to people, just because. 

And finally, on a selfish note, I want to talk more {shout at strangers} about the things I love the most :: books and writing. I want to share that with the world, or a few IG friends, and connect with others on a level only the coolest nerds know. 

Like, Pat. 

And I want to see the good in everyone. Like my pup, when the cat arrives to taunt him. 

Nowadays, he just wags his tail. 

I’m pretty sure that means it’s all going to be alright. 


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One Response to Windows :: My View from Quarantine and Other Stories

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    Jenna June 21, 2020 at 1:08 am #

    You have a way with words! I first stumbled across the Bath time one ehat seems like forever ago. And now this….you’ve captured my own quarantine feelings with my kids. I will be following you for more, I love your writing style, you are very talented!

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