It's So Contagious
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
I don't want to give it to my kids.
We are stuck inside. It’s a hellish nightmare outside. People are frenzied. They are clearing the shelves. They are cancelling plans. They are… as we are supposed to be… panicked. And… consuming. It’s like the fucking apocalypse.
I’m inside. Folding laundry.
I'm inside. Folding laundry.
“Momma,” my 6 year old Clementine says, batting her long eyelashes at me, “ I don’t want to ask it but I know that you know what I want is…” “No,” I bark back. “No TV. You had a lot of TV yesterday. You have literally 9 million toys.” “Noooooo!” She cries. “Maybe I should throw them away?” I threaten. “NOOOOOO!” She falls to the ground in a dramatic heap. “Fine then,” I say. “Just let me fold these damn clothes. Do you think I like doing this?”
I text a friend. They’re staying in, too. They’re also scared. I’m not sure I am, though. We are healthy. We are impervious. And doesn’t physical health mean everything? Isn’t it the ONLY thing that matters? I don’t know… I don’t know... I just know that I did the laundry two days ago and it has somehow tripled in size again.
“No. Tucker. Stop. Stop, please.” I say to my four year old, feral son. “Get off of those piles. I just folded those. And get off of your head like that. I’m going to have to take you to see a doctor if you can’t stop.”
Tucker is in a V-shape, standing on his head, looking at me through his legs and says “Ok. I lub you mommma.” “I lub you, too, honey.”
He says this when he is in trouble. He’s crafty. It works every time. The teachers at his school are worried about his development. I am not. Or am I just being lazy because OT is expensive and it means that we would have to leave the house and be tied to this crazy schedule and I already feel a little like I’m drowning everyday. Should I take him to a doctor?
They say it’s spreading so quickly and easily. But he’s not sick… I mean… We are ALWAYS sick. He always has a cough. There is always laundry. I am always alone. But - I’m with THEM. That’s not alone.
I stop with the folding. I say awkwardly: “Clementine, want to tell me something that has happened at school this week? Your favorite something?”
She’s only six and I’m already terrible at this.
“Can I watch TV?” She’s persistent. “NO! I said no.” I scream back. I am not even surprised by my tone anymore.
I can’t even muster it. I can’t muster the ability to pretend like I care about asking how school went today.
Oh. Fuck. It’s here. I caught it. I’m sick, too, aren’t I? I’ve caught what we are all afraid of. What we buy, buy, buy, buy, buy for. The mailse. The over-awareness of the dark parts of the world. It’s contagious. I don’t want to give it to my children. Oh, no. God, no. It’s so contagious.
07 MARCH 2020