Chronicling the Days – Clare Chodos-Irvine

Welcome to 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.

In April 2020, we invited writers in Quebec to submit a story – 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 valid.

Submissions have now closed for the series but we’ll be continuing to publish the pieces throughout May. Keep an eye for them here, or join us on the QWF FB Community page, and let the authors know if their words resonated.

This piece is by Clare Chodos-Irvine, written on March 25, 2020.

Film still from Lady Bird (2017, IAC films)

Our apartment is small and everything lives inside of handmade ceramics. I spend the mornings drinking cups of tea and cutting long, thin slices of sourdough. I eat them while watching a video about someone else who’s stuck inside their own small apartment. It’s quiet except the wind is pushing through a small gap in my window, and I can hear it whistling. I can imagine a cat sitting on my bed, licking itself in the sunlight, except I didn’t think ahead and buy a cat before all this started, so it’s just a patch of sunlight and a pair of sweatpants I haven’t put away yet.

The bathtub is broken or something again. When I run the water in the bathroom sink, the drain in the tub goes glug, glug, glug, and I’m worried something terrible is going to spring out of it. I call my landlord, he tells me to plug all the holes except the tub drain and use a plunger to unclog it. I shove tampons and paper towels into the overflow holes and it works. It turns out my landlord is more helpful over the phone than when he shows up in person.

I spend a lot of time walking around Westmount, because the most exciting thing I can do is walk around Westmount. I look at the houses and take pictures of the ones that look haunted. I smell what people are cooking for dinner. I pick wildflowers out of people’s front yards, knowing that someone is inside every house, watching me through the window as I look over my shoulder before clipping one off a stem with my fingernails. I keep all of the tiny flowers in my palm, and by the time I get back home, the fingers on my left hand are frozen.

I hang out with my roommate all evening. We watch Lady Bird and it makes me miss my mom. My roommate says that’s sweet, but then a moment later she second-guesses herself and asks if my mom and I get along ok.

Every day feels like one of those Saturday afternoons as a kid, when we were having people over for dinner. It is always 3 o’clock. The house is spotless, I’m not allowed to watch TV because my sister and I are supposed to watch a DVD later. I hang with my head over the side of my bed and let all the blood rush to my face. I pretend to read a book. I go into the kitchen and bother someone who’s cooking there. I climb a tree, except it’s not a tree, it’s a fire escape. I hope my neighbor doesn’t yell at me for being on the roof. The dinner guests never show.

5 thoughts on “Chronicling the Days – Clare Chodos-Irvine

  1. “I spend a lot of time walking around Westmount, because the most exciting thing I can do is walk around Westmount.” True during quarantine or anytime. Loved this piece!!


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