Chronicling the Days – Ilona Martonfi

Welcome to a new QWF series ‘Chronicling the Days’, specifically for this strange uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine. We’re inviting writers in Quebec in April 2020 to submit a story – up to 500 words – of a single day at this time, because while we’re all living through this time, we know that we’re not all living through it in the same way. To stay connected – to know how we’re getting on. Every story is valid.

If you’re interested in submitting a piece, please see the QWF Writes website for further details.

What’s the story of your days?

This piece is by Ilona Martonfi, writing in April, 2020.

I meant to watch endless replays of you. Marisa. And so said: “How are you?” “Okay”. The cell phone pictures of a bus driving up streets, houses of greystone and brick. Schools, libraries, bookstores, restaurants, weddings, funerals, a city in lockdown. Quarantine. I am afraid for you.

This warm spring sun. This small lilac sky above the assisted living for seniors, retirement home for my eldest daughter. This seventh day of March. This swarm. This Covid-19 pandemic.

Do you remember finally moving to your own studio, on Avenue Caldwell near Chemin Kildare? Villa-Maria metro, bus 162. And so said: “Do you like it?” A sensation of glassy detachment. Suffering from pulmonary sarcoidosis autoimmune disease. Your bouts of pneumonia. Psychiatric outpatient of Saint Mary’s Hospital. Anxiety Disorder. Daughter on public curatorship. I meant to keep packing and unpacking orange boxes. Meant to just watch your medications. Underline them. Put question marks behind them. And so you said: “I’m not like them. I am not.” It’s your monosyllables. Marisa. Fast food. Coke and French fries. Music on a black Boombox.

All the different helpers in your life. It would be more than seven.

And so you said: “I go to the Shopping Centre. “Which one?” ”Côte Saint-Luc.” It’s your monosyllables. Swooping starlings in murmuration.

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