August 18, 2020 – from answering an old question asked again and again lately
Everyone is still staying far away where I am.
I’ve been taking walks when I can, usually in the evenings, and that’s when I see them all out and still knowing each other. Neighbors yelling across streets named Garden and Locust and Boylston while their children make shapes of stars apart but still speak in sounds they all understand.
The sky still blasts open with sunset on some days, somehow.
A couple nights ago I saw a mother and her daughter arrive to a house carrying a birthday present, a big and bright gift bag catching some last light between them as they walked up the front lawn. They looked so earnest in their approach, and so happy, that I could see how everything is different. But that there are still summers and birthdays and that we don’t get a redo of any of this.
The kitten I got is growing at a pace that hurts me, remarkably and expectedly, and we’ve all been sleeping a lot—the kitten and Peter and I. We take turns between the twin bed and a pile of blankets on the floor of Peter’s childhood bedroom, and that’s one of the reasons these days get so blurry. Our bodies got stiff so we moved the mattress from his parents’ foldout and both tried fitting in it.
When we turned the lights out we weren’t sure if the kitten would pick us or sleep somewhere else or default to his spot on the actual bed. Then we laughed until we cried when he found his way to the small of my back—just slinked up against us like of course he knew who we were, after only a few moments of circling the dark.
The kitten stayed put as we bellowed, sleeping the whole night there between us.