Life in a Pandemic

Life in a Pandemic

I am anxious. I never understood that word until now. My chest is tight. My palms sweat. When I hear the birds sing, I wonder if they know something that I don’t. They pierce the vast stretch of storm blue with song. Their sharp notes cut into the day and shape it into something they own. I try to take a page from their book, but I am human and not skilled at focusing on the present. I brush my teeth, wash my hands, and sing happy birthday to two invisible people. I make coffee that tastes more bitter than usual.

A TV judge tells the defendant that he’s about to get got, and she tags him with a $1,000 fine. I wonder if we’re all about to get got or if we already have. I eat a protein pancake with frozen peaches thawed in the fridge. The peaches look brown, rotten even, on my plate. If you look at anything close in the light, you will see flaws—uneven edges and brown spots and cracks where the world falls through.

It’s noon. I listen for the birds. I don’t hear them. I don’t hear anything. I know I should embrace the stillness and listen for messages from tiny gods and gurus. Instead, I look for the next task. I ride the waves in my chest like a surfer. They won’t take me anywhere, but this is how I survive.


This is a short piece that I wrote as the pandemic started to spread and I felt myself growing anxious. I was trying to convince myself that everything was ok, because the birds were singing and Judge Judy was on TV admonishing a defendant in some case.

About the Artist

Rae Theodore,  Montgomery County
Published:  July 16, 2020