2020 | Coronavirus Chronicles

Coronavirus Chronicles: Dinners on our deck

‘Here we are, frozen in this moment, sipping wine and talking about life other than the virus that keeps us here.’

The cardinal, left, mentioned in the essay, in the author's backyard

From Barbara Rosenblatt

(Editor’s note: This essay is part of Bethesda Beat’s Coronavirus Chronicles personal essay series. Visit the submission page to learn more.)

Over the last four years, I have mostly stayed home. I’ve had both hips replaced, meniscus surgery and two cataract surgeries.

Now we are all home with a universal ailment: fear of getting the virus. The unity of it is fascinating, aside from the horror.

In some ways, I’m less depressed and less isolated than when I was home recovering from pain. Now everyone is going through the same thing. My husband is home, and our daughter, who runs a school in Beijing, is with us. She is not sick and neither are we.

This year was the first that I did not play an April Fool’s joke. It seemed impossible.

Even so, we are playing. My husband and I have danced to Frank Sinatra on our hardwood floor. It’s just the three of us for the first time, in the most profound sense, since our daughter was a newborn.

I look at my hair, turning gray and scraggly; it makes the pandemic real. Still, I feel blessed during this time.

My family has dinner on our deck. The garden is blooming with azaleas, and the birds are visiting the feeder. We notice that each bird is different, and that the cardinal, whom I’ve named Nali, has a mate.

I cherish this time instead of simply fearing it. I remind myself that this is temporary, that life is temporary, that all we have is now.

It’s hard to maintain the discipline to be safe, but I am trying. As for food, I don’t try so hard. I’ve been enjoying my daughter’s homemade pizza and bread.

Here we are, frozen in this moment, sipping wine and talking about life other than the virus that keeps us here.

Barbara Rosenblatt is a writer and teacher who lives in Takoma Park, MD.

Read other essays in the Coronavirus Chronicles series.

To learn how to submit your work for consideration, click here.