An object at rest remains at rest and I am once more on my bed. That is, in quarantine I spend most of my days lying around, eyes glazed to the ceiling, because I feel like any moment I might be dead— but I cannot complete my things-to-do-before-I-die bucket list because Disneyland has closed.
The world is not spacetime for me any longer, if it ever was. In the stale air circulating in this dim room, with late evening light falling through the curtain in puddles, the world feels like it’s been held completely still. I used to think of time in hours. Now I think of time in the number of Gilmore Girls episodes I can watch before the throb in my throat gets too painful and every time I swallow I think I want to die.
I don’t, though. I do not want to die. But in moments of extreme sweat and deliriousness I begin to lose myself. Sometimes I dream submerged in an endless fog, tucked between layers of heat and ice that fold me over a million times til I am crushed to dust. And in times when it gets really unbearable, I can do no more than sit still and marinate in the horrible, overwhelming loneliness as I feel every last bit of agony trickle into my numb toes.
But most days it is not like that.
Most days, I spend my time thinking of moments when quarantine was still a game of circular motion, of time threaded delicately around Mobius strips of video calls and days blurring into one another. And those, maybe, were not so bad…
I hesitate but the thought surfaces anyway; the aftertaste of a good memory floating gently upward. A while ago, there was us, and there was you, floating through a screen, grinning, suggesting we have a fancy lunch together.
I blinked. What do you mean?
But soon I found out this was what you meant: dressing up in tuxedos and old prom dresses to consume styrofoam cups of instant noodles — dancing through screens, your warmth permeating through pixels, turning our rooms into sweeping goldens of ballrooms and glittering chandeliers, and three-piece black suits, and bowties tied the wrong way, and shirts wrinkled at the edges from how you’d yanked it out of your closet five minutes before.
But we were laughing. And times were good.
On those days, I cling onto memories like they’re a lifeline, turning them slowly over in my mind before it dissolves and permeates out like faint dust. These times will not last forever, I remind myself. Even now, I am telling myself that.
Yes, that is what I do. Imagine your smile and a day when I can see it again, in person, with the sun illuminating every bend and curve of your cheeks. It is sometimes quiet, a murmured whisper, but you are there, every time, telling me this—
Hold on. And so I close my eyes, and I do.