I couldn’t think of what to write. During the coronavirus shutdown, in a time when many of my friends were writing,
in a time when braggarts were going on about their prolific feats of authorship in quarantine, I was sitting on my
living room floor filling in a fucking paint by number. And I am a person who draws. And paints. And I am creative
and interesting and angst-ridden and perforated and empty lately, apparently.
I am a sponge—always have been. I seep insight from my surroundings, breathe in air from others’ lungs, suck in
sharply when you speak. When I was in preschool, my teacher called my parents concerned because I sat in corners
in stark silence while the other children played. She thought I was odd, antisocial. Bullied, perhaps. Angry. My
mother answered, confused, “But she comes home and talks for hours about her friends every day. She knows all the
other kids’ names, she tells me every detail and every game.”
I am a sponge. I soak surroundings like paper does watercolor, sip you in like buzzing bees drink up nectar.
So when my surroundings seemed small and stuck, I felt myself gasping for air. This sounds selfish—I’m aware of that.
I sound inward-bound, self-centered. Who cares about my thoughts in a time when so many people are dying? But
that’s the thing about consciousness: it lingers.
So in thinking of how to contribute to this odd little addition, I came up real empty. It made me nauseous. Made me
think. Made me walk in circles and buzz around my little room like a starving dizzied bee.
I opened my notes app and browsed my phone and found two things: Pictures of the park and forgotten lists of
groceries. And if I’m being transparent, honest, really quarantined me, that is all I can contribute.