Love In The Time Of Coronavirus

“I wish I wasn’t born during this time!”

“Everything started getting bad when the coronavirus showed up!”

“It’s ruining my life!”

The walls have closed in on all of us here in Greenville, Delaware. Streets are empty. Skies are quiet. Schools are shuttered. Storefronts frozen.

Maggie and Elsie are back to school: a few Zoom meetings, gobs of unstructured time. Virtual playdates. Abbi has led like a champ: intricate chalk drawings, painting our feelings, puzzles. Still, the girls restless, unsettled, disoriented.

“I wish this was all a dream!” Maggie sobbed.

“Me too,” I said.

“That’s a normal feeling,” I said.

“You’re not alone,” I said.

Last night, I drove the girls to Rockford Park, a great patch of green along the Brandywine. They were surly the whole way there.

The sky was a fierce, fierce blue. The wind howled through the branches, and whistled through the weather vane high atop Rockford Tower.

We sprinted across the field, kicked the soccer ball, played tag. And flew a kite. Maggie struggled to keep it aloft; it wasn’t much of a specimen, really: standard diamond, lightweight, shaky and shoddy. But a great shock of pink and blue and green.

She thrilled with its launch, back peddled with its inevitable spiral, then ran out of runway. The kite hurtled downward and landed with a surprisingly resonant thud.

When Elsie took the reins, she seemed to know to hold her line. She stood steady, string in her left hand, spool in her right, riding the currents. She seemed to understand that she had no control over the wind; she surrendered to it, meeting each invisible nuance with a decisive counter: a tug to the left, a zag to the right.

The fabric around those shoddy, plastic dowels shuddered and collapsed with each gust, but Elsie parlayed. keeping that bright, striped kite swooping across that neon blue for what seemed like hours.

Back home, we lingered awhile at the dinner table, the four of us just talking. Elsie cracked a joke about tooting. Maggie shared an arcane fact about polar bears. Venus began to shine through the swaying branches. The sky grew dark, and filled with stars.