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 Anne Lewis, writing on April 22, 2020.
Answer Me This
Well, and so, I have said it all, is it not enough? All the sharp words blunted, were they not enough? And the idle engine chuckling, was it not sufficient? And the frozen badlands kicking me in the tucked chin, were they not allowed to shut me up? Nope.
“Go get your head examined” she said. In the flowering embers, fireside chatty she was. Head inclined, hair all furry, hat askew, she was. Piece of amber, she was.
“I’ll ask you the same” I said. And why should I fill up her space for her? Answer me that. Before all this, I was never that way. It pressured up. Funny enough, that’s what I expected. The comeuppance of it all that I got. Those were the days of honey and aspirin and any kind of beetle juice. Are they all gone now? Answer me this. Is it to lament at our watching and cowering? Is it to be still at our alone-ing and shushing? Is it to be spiking fevers at our vigilance and philosophizing? Answer me. Used to be I could write with a whole clatter around me, but now, tear open a flimsy bag in the same room and I will shoot you a look.
“I’m trying to make sense.” I will say. On the flat wasteland, the car has broken down. Sitting on a prickly red tartan blanket my Dad will look at me like I’m daft. My mum will raise her thermos cup lid to me on its little handle and “Good luck to you,” she’ll say. Slices of turf are stacked by the road, molten wet like phosphorus, a metal so soft you can slice it with a dinner knife. And the careful wind tickling at my nose will be pointing to where the sense is. Because wasn’t I wild with excitement that day to discover at the school chemistry bench those grey little slabs on a dish were not a butter of sorts, they were phosphorus, a metal at room temperature.
If I were at a different temperature, what would I be? Pigeon wing? Salty wave? Lion’s claw? Rumpelstiltskin awakening to a