We try so hard to keep a lid on it. But there’s only four walls, that seem to draw closer together every day, and five of us inside of them. Six, if you count the dog, which I do.
S. wants someone to listen to her.
E. wishes we’d just leave him alone.
L. demands everyone do their part, like he’s doing his.
I desire only to wallow in my illness, wear my self-diagnosed coronavirus like a crown, be allowed to squirrel myself away in my room, tasty morsels left at my door.
B. cannot decide if I’m ill, and if so, what is causing it, and what that means for him. He comes home each day, cored out from attending to the ill and the stressed and the COVID-stricken, to a household of four people spinning in their own corona-stew.
And the dog? She trots from here to there, wondering what’s up, trying to suss out what’s required to make it stop, whatever it is.
Last night, S and L said the wrong thing to E at dinner and within an hour, our home was spewing invective like Mt. Vesuvius spurts lava. This was the fourth battle we’ve had in two weeks. The worst part was, this time, we all tried so hard to hold it in, to rationalize, to explain ourselves and talk each other out of anger. But then we blow up despite ourselves, and I know we all wish we weren’t here.
But it’s the coronavirus era, and there’s nowhere else to go.
I guess we’re getting better at the fighting though, because after another hour, it was done. L and E made up (L overhead saying to his brother, “Just two weeks ago, I was a carefree college student, and now I’m in charge of a household and making dinner every night.”), and S and E, after barely talking for 14 days, went on such a long walk around the neighborhood that I called them before I went to sleep, to make sure they were okay.
Then today, in rapid succession, we really fell apart.
I was already feeling gross last night, and I woke up this morning too ill to get my own tea. As I lay in bed, slowly gathering strength, E. came in, his face chalk-white. “I don’t feel good,” he said, and coughed. And coughed. I took his temperature. 99 degrees. I told him to go back to bed. He went outside to play trombone in my garage office.
I lay around in my PJs for hours, going from worse to merely bad.
B, on his one day off out of seven, went to Vons, dropped his wallet in the parking lot on the way out, and only figured it out hours later (a security guard turned it in to the manager’s desk).
S took the dog on a walk and noticed she was limping. L and S rushed her to the vet, because when that happened last year it was a foxtail buried deep between her toes, and she nearly lost her paw. But she’d only sprained her leg, which she often does when she’s stressed.
They came back home and S’s cough of two weeks echoed across the house. We took her temperature — 101 degrees. Then we sent her to bed. [Update: fever disappeared after three glasses of water and two hours of rest. Culprits for original reading include possibly defective thermometer.]
L. declared he had a tickle in his throat.
Now B doesn’t know where to sleep. Among other issues.
I have a couple of friends whose boys sneak out of the house when their parents aren’t looking, desperate to get all manner of fresh air. Of course, it’s the wrong thing to do.
But it also makes perfect sense.