Letters from Quarantine – Third Week

“Weird Friends” Syd Weedon, circa 2010

Fifteenth Day

Storms tonight. It tore siding off the garage. Lightning and rain raked the earth. The cat got caught in the rain. She showed up at the back door squalling. He grabbed a towel that he kept for the purpose and dried her fur. He could feel her purr with his hands. He had warned her that storms were moving in, but she ignored him.

Ignoring me is an expensive hobby.

Some government mouthpiece said they had a new model and “we would only lose 60,000 people.” That’s more than we lost in Nam. All of those deaths in that long war and we will kill more than that in a couple of months.

Explain to me how any of this is acceptable.

The storm passed by quickly. The local news Twitter said that there were 90 mph straight line winds. The garage looked like 90 mph straight line winds. Strips of siding flapped in the wind like the arms of an injured man. The air was nice. A fitful wind still whipped around the buildings but it wasn’t as threatening as before. The cat curled up in a chair at the kitchen table and went sound asleep.

Well, you missed again. Does is aggravate you that I still live? I hear “tenacious” on the night wind and all I have to do now is to figure out who said it. You loved me once. What went wrong? Is there something that I can do to fix it? Tell me. I have nothing else to do.

People can’t take this forever. Something has to give. Something has to break.

Sixteenth Day

Darkness was at the back door, flat and cold. He cared for his weapons and wrote down the thoughts he couldn’t keep to himself. One of life’s great lessons is learning to keep your own peace, to be sovereign in yourself. No one can take that away. Once you know that, once you drink that sacred wine it becomes a spell-casting that no wizard or demon can break. He picked up his pen,

Most people don’t know their own power. Most people don’t know they can be free.

The Passover is upon us and the Jews are doing their Seder meal. They leave an empty chair for Elijah. I like that, like the Feast of the Hungry Ghosts. The rest of it, I don’t understand but I like Elijah’s empty chair. Does the prophet appear, pale and ghosty; does he eat the weird food? Does he say anything? Does he just stare back from eternity with the same questions everyone else has? Say something, prophet. Explain this to me.

He remembered the tale. He had known it since childhood – the Angel of Death passed through Egypt and took the firstborn of the Egyptians, even Pharaoh’s son. The Hebrews had been tipped off in advance by Moses and they slaughtered lambs. They splattered the blood on their door sills and hid in their houses. When the dark angel saw the blood he passed over that house. The Jews remembered it forever as the “Passover.” This was their holiest night.

The Angel is busy tonight. Thousands are breathing their last and nobody has any blood on their doors. So many souls fly up to heaven that the air is cold. A mean wind brings the rain, rain like a million tears. So many tears fall tonight that surely they must wash this wicked world clean, at least for a little while.

Seventeenth Day

The day was “Good Friday” – I bet the Savior didn’t think it was all that great. Christian Twitter was full of the faithful echoing the dreary and terrifying “last words of Jesus.” Normal people news was full of rants about the dysfunctional president, stunning statistics on death tolls and hospitalizations, and stories about the psycho Christians planning to defy the distancing orders to hold services on Easter. He mused darkly that we would soon see Mr. Darwin’s theory of natural selection put to the test, but already he suspected that there were some people who were just too stupid to survive. A quote from Robert Heinlein came to mind, “Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.” He thought of a new bumper sticker and picked up his pen,

Honk if you Love Jesus. Go to church on Sunday if you want to meet him.

Eighteenth Day

………….[He spent the day fixing the wounded garage. He ate dinner, had three cocktails and went dead away asleep.]…………….

Nineteenth Day

Easter was a quiet, gray morning. The day was cool and sleepy, like one of those that never fully awakens. At night, there would be storms again.

Leave my damned garage alone.

He glanced at the Twitter news. He was shocked to find that people were still acting stupid. The religious fanatics acted like fools. The pope did his lonely mass. There was an unconfirmed report that the Savior escaped the tomb again, Houdini-like. Nothing can keep the boy down. He picked up his pen,

Sweet, broken, dead Jesus, do you still feel the pain? Do your wounds still bleed? Do the angels hover close by to prop you up when you faint?

The rain moved in cold and constant. It was an Easter that felt like a misfire. Nothing was as it should be. He took the little black notebook into his hands,

I wish I were out in the woods with my tent and my little white gas stove, in my rain gear, with cold rain dripping off my hands and face, trying to make supper on the little stove. I don’t know – it would just feel good right now.

Twentieth Day

Unholy Monday – stormy and gray with a cold wind. Nineteen people died in the night from tornadoes. The stock market was tanking again. Two thousand died yesterday from the virus. One guy got run over by a couple of cars (that he knew about – maybe more). He had lost the battle of the bad tooth on Good Friday, but now his mouth felt infinitely better. He had Easter mouth except the tooth didn’t rise from the dead. He had slept really well through the storm until the roof started leaking into his bedroom. The coffee cup felt like deliverance.

 “Poets are damned but they are not blind, they see with the eyes of angels.” – William Carlos Williams

The whole world and natural order looked like a parable on something he had known a long time – life was hard. You could never let up, never relax until your dying breath. Life was struggle and it was damned cruel. He had learned this as a little boy, aching on his way home from school unable to cry because he would get hurt for that too. He learned it as a young man drifting on the city sidewalks.

I never lost my faith. I just doubted everything I had been told. Nothing seemed to really fit. I’m tired of hearing about mysteries. I’m tired of hearing about faith. Isn’t that just another way of saying, “Well, there’s nothing really happening here, but you need to believe that there is just because we said so. And, by the way, let us rape your little brother.” Sorry, that old dog won’t hunt, not any more.

Take me in your arms. I don’t care if I have to die. I don’t care. Tell me that you love me one more time, Look into my eyes like nothing else matters, the way you did, the way you pulled my soul back from hell. That couldn’t hurt. That was heaven, or as close as I ever got.

Twenty-first Day

The day, like so many before, began in darkness. He had come to see the darkness as holy. It was the time of conception, of soul pregnancy and labor. It was the sweating, bleeding delivery, the screaming at the gloom.

As the night slowly withdrew to the west, he brewed a pot of coffee. The coffee maker sounded like a fat guy burping. His little black notebook lay open on the table,

When every moment becomes a prayer to a god you’re at war with, you know there’s going to be trouble. There’s going to be trouble.

I’m not scared; I’m mad – mad at the virus, mad at the incompetent government, mad at the maniac mango clown, mad at us for putting him there. He’s a cartoon villain from a Batman movie. I’m living in a fucking Batman movie. I’m mad at God too, but that hardly seems to matter anymore.

“Ain’t found a way to kill me yet… The bullets scream to me from somewhere… Here they come to snuff the rooster, aww yeah… You know he ain’t gonna’ die…”

Education is expensive and wisdom is rare. Knowledge is a beggar.

This “distancing” thing isn’t all that hard. In a way, I’ve been distancing my whole life. There are a lot of people I don’t really get along with, and not seeing them is no big loss. Sometimes, even those I love are too much to bear, and I just want to fade to the space behind my eyes, that dark refuge where only I can go.

Will we ever feel safe again? Will be ever hold hands? Will we ever meet a beautiful stranger again?

He pushed. He wanted to get it down, but… he didn’t have the energy he used to have. There was a time when he could sit up nights on end and write… not any more. He had to push. There was a story in his mind and he had to try to get it down… God knows why.

Night returned. He looked into the darkened glass, but he could see nothing.

11 comments

  1. I don’t know. I believe the kids are still having fun. New world and distance. Thank you god for the computers and phones. We can communicate and keep in touch. I understand these words. Be careful and be safe my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Me too. Michigan Governor want to open up Michigan in May. My Detroit area lost 400 yesterday. It will get worst my friend. I hope they don’t fall to the business people desired. Most of Michigan is safe except the big cities. Big cities are doing poorly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Witmer is doing a good job with an impossible situation. I think our governor in Kentucky is doing well too. It’s the death-cult crackers in places like SC, FL and TX that are wanting to throw everything wide open to please their lord and master. It’s just setting up for a second wave, and the government will be out of money to juice the economy again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • After Flint, Michigan. Hardly no coronaviras. Can’t allow the lower Michigan folks to go to upper Michigan. Very few. Need separation. Lower Michigan will break 2000 deaths today. My three counties, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne will see 4000 death before May. Time to stay home and write a novel.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. On a good side, look at how many people have stepped up to help others. As awful as this is, it has brought out a lot of good in people. I have three immediate family members working on the line with the virus in the medical field and I am scared to death for them but we will get through this together. It is so strange to think about what it will be like in the months to come. One thing is for sure, every time my “coffee maker sounds like a fat guy burping” I will smile and think of you! Have a great week Syd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I know I have been relentlessly gloomy of late. I believe that there are silver linings too. Also, there’s a bit of drama a fiction in this piece. I was trying to get the mood of a person who is really isolated. My life is not that bleak.

      P.S. We made the potato, onion and kielbasa recipe last night. There were no leftovers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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