Chronicling the Days – Emily Brown

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 Emily Brown, writing on Wednesday April 15, 2020.

Photo: Creative Commons

The day starts as it always has done since my thyroid was removed, by placing a small blue pill on my tongue and washing it down with water. Only now when I glance at the remaining pills, stacked at the bottom of their little pot, I’m reminded of the fear I had four years ago, when I first became reliant on a drug to keep me alive. What if society collapses, pharmacies turn to wastelands, and I’m forced to start breeding pigs for their thyroids? It seemed like a pretty implausible possibility then.

Turning to greet my partner, just visible through the mess of duvet, blankets and pillows, I see he is already, as usual, scrolling through the news on his phone. The only difference is that now there’s only one thing on the news.

Today is a bike day, so I put on the same t-shirt and shorts from two days ago, because, who cares if I smell? I walk through to the lounge and pump up the back tire of my bike so it fits snugly to the stand that prevents it from careening into the kitchen. I place my laptop on a nearby desk, plug in headphones, and pedal my way to Missouri, where Marty Byrde is having his toe nails ripped off and witnessing a man have his head shattered by a shotgun. Just a usual day in the Ozarks.

At least watching TV alone gives my partner and I something to talk about, other than the obvious thing – for the last few weeks we’ve spent nearly every moment of the day together. Exceptions include the couple of trips I’ve had to make into the office, occasional walks around the block alone, and of course, pooping. We work, at separate desks, in the same space, we eat together, we sleep together. And I couldn’t be more grateful for it.

My laptop might be the only other thing I’ve spent so much time with. I leave it at the desk while I shower and breakfast, but soon we are reunited, as the work day begins. Trips to the kitchen and bathroom are about the only things that bring us apart. Along with the usual brief, post-lunch walk to the nearby park.

Quitting time rolls around, and since I’m off dinner duty tonight, I start on my daily physiotherapy exercises. Were we permitted to spend more time outside, my knee probably wouldn’t allow it. Six months into recovery from a knee realignment surgery, there’s days I wonder if life will ever be normal again.

Finally, with the exercises and stretches done, I join my partner on the sofa for more TV, a pack of frozen sweetcorn resting on my knee. Waiting for me by the bedside is a small, irritatingly coloured, pink pill. What other shade would you pick for a drug only for girls? I had hoped to stop taking it soon, but if there was ever a time for big life decisions, it isn’t now.

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