Will I remember with fondness the days I woke up side by side with my husband both of us staggering to the kitchen? Him making coffee one day and me making it the next. A little bit to eat. Me, a banana, or canteloupe and some yogurt. Him, a smoothie or a bowl of cereal. A deep hug held for what seems like minutes in the kitchen we have called ours since 2009.
Now is different, though, he will spend the day at this computer, conference calls, video meetings, e-mails. I will stand at my desk upright, sending out pitches to editors trying to land my next assignment. The two of us, in the same room daily for the first time in twenty-two years.
All the years prior, kissing good-bye at the door in the morning hugging in the evening and then sharing conversation about what happened in his world, my world. These exchanges have become not his or hers, but ours. We take a break and play our Xbox Kinect video games. We use our bodies as the controller and get exercise while we compete playing a game of table tennis or a round of bowling. Tossing the ball and getting more gutters than strikes.
I make him a sandwich while I warm up steamed zucchini, carrots, and cauliflower au gratin that he made earlier in the week. We keep a running list of things we are getting low on or that we might like to eat. We don’t know if the store will have any of the items on our list. There is so much that was a certainty a month ago that is uncertainty now.
The uncertainty of living through a global pandemic with the stay at home orders coming from the governor has made people grasp at things to try and gain a sense of control. Hoarding toilet paper, hoarding paper towels, cleaning supplies, bleach, alcohol anything to keep us, we, them, from the death toll that bombards us daily.
It is a virus that has us calling doctors, nurses, janitors, and grocery clerks, heroes. It is a virus that has me spending every day with my husband. For the first time in twenty-two years, we search through recipes together and plan to bake things like oatmeal cookies, cinnamon rolls, and cook things like vegetarian meatloaf with beans instead of beef.
We have always been close. We spent six months in a 17ft. van traveling to thirty-four states. We can be together 24/7 in small spaces. We are fortunate we enjoy each other’s company. His jokes don’t get old. His voice is still pleasing.
This social distancing that we are doing, this stay at home order might be another story we end up telling like our trip to Paris or Abu Dhabi or cross country. Maybe, it will be more like 9/11 or the work we did in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Maybe we will one day talk about out bi-monthly brunches with friends that have turned into meet-ups on video software. Maybe, we will talk about the fear we have for each other and our aging parents, along with everyone we love.
Maybe, we will talk about the slowing down of life, the looking at each other instead of our phones, the conversations we start that often trail off as we go about the days side by side. Maybe, we will talk about how we got this time to get to know each other again. To listen to each other’s hopes, dreams, and fears. Maybe, we will most remember the comfort and joy and passion we shared twenty-two years ago that led us to a little chapel in Las Vegas where we promised to love each other for better or for worse.
I assume some people would call this the worse part, but after breast cancer scares, lymphoma scares, sarcoidosis, schizophrenia, and all the rest, this is the better. Being next to each other and getting a glimpse into each other’s otherwise unknown lives- this is a gift brought to us by the tragedy of a deadly virus.