Monthly Archives: March 2020

Living Claritin Clear

I cried today.

With a fully stocked fridge, functioning body and reliable WiFi.
Without the added pressure of teaching children at home,
or treating patients in a maxed out hospital.

With a job that allows me to still work and earn a paycheck.
And friends who patiently accept my anxiety,
about recording Marco Polo messages and having nothing to share.
Who continue to reach out, just like my family,
thankfully still healthy and connected.

With up-to-date prescriptions and auto-renewal subscriptions,
which help to steel my mind and keep me distracted,
I still cried today.
For the first time since all of this started.

I didn’t expect my voice to crack when it did,
or for my eyes to well up so quickly.
But once they joined the Skype call with my co-worker,
there was no turning back.
I was no longer on mute.

She kindly let me get it out,
from inside the comfort of my small but safe apartment.
In a neighborhood with Little Free Libraries,
where parents are playing catch with their kids in the alley.
And a cherry blossom tree is showing off right outside my door.

I cried and cried and cried.

I don’t share these details to make unhelpful comparisons,
but to recognize we all have our own realities.
As we’ve always had our own stories as well.
This just happens to be the one only I can tell,
complete with unearned luxuries.

I cried today.
And then I walked.

For three hours and 23,219 steps.
It was the first time I had been outside since Sunday.

I started with my normal route to the office and then kept walking.
Until the weight in my chest became lighter and the day grew darker.
Until my legs hurt and my mind cleared and
I finally felt capable of managing this moment in time.
This exact moment, nothing more.

Then I walked home,
where I used to be annoyed by the incessant cherry blossoms
who invite themselves in on the soles of my shoes.
Now, they remind me “Spring always comes when it’s time.”

My friend Lauren shared that beautiful line with me
on Marco Polo yesterday. I still owe her a response.

Anyway, I know you and I had exactly
nothing and everything in common today.
But you were on my walk.
I held you close in spite of all this distance.

And just like those damn blossoms I can’t bring myself to sweep
off my floor tonight,
you are still with me.
Until we all start again tomorrow.


One of the first memes I saw online the other day,
when we all turned even more toward our phones,
was of a dinosaur wearing a face mask and posing this question:
If Kevin Bacon gets COVID-19, does that mean everybody’s going to get it?

In response, the widely connected actor launched a love letter to the world with these words:
“Every one of us has someone who is worth staying home for.”
At night, when I’m feeling this isolation the most, I’ll be honest when I tell you what is selfishly top-of-mind:
Who is staying home for me?

When my niece turned six last year, I asked Google to explain the significance of that number.
I’m not a numerologist or a mathematician and, these days, barely a writer,
but I most often turn to words.
To make sense of what’s around me, to calm myself to sleep, to connect the dots.

These are the facts a beautiful mind revealed to me in that search:
The smallest perfect number is six.
Perfect numbers are rare.

This is the sixth day I have been alone.

Speaking of Kevin Bacon, I have never felt the urge to dance more than I do now.
In the kitchen with my mother, who is hundreds of miles away.
With my landlord upstairs, who accidentally broke the thermometer in his shirt pocket.
Next to strangers, salty with sweat.
Like Robyn.

The average normal body temperature is ninety-eight point six degrees.
As fevers spike, along with hysteria, we’ve been told to stay six feet apart.
A safe and healthy distance, though, isolation is what the doctor really orders.
The separation is wearing us thin, but it’s also making room for our best to rise to the top.

Twelve years ago, when I first came out, I bought a book called “Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.”
On long walks outside, with my headphones in but the music turned off,
I’ve been hearing strangers’ versions lately.
Note: Sometimes we have to contract in order to expand.

I won’t hold this against you.
I love you, and I’m sorry.
I wish I could hug you.
Is dad finally staying home now?

Perhaps the revolution *will* be televised,
before we’re all forced six feet under.
And, if we’re lucky and smart enough to hear the lesson,
from six continents speaking their truths to the one we’re on,
we’ll all emerge better than before.

Screens down, hands outstretched, eyes up.