lockdown blues
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Another Day
by Martin Green



Joe Parker opened his eyes. His first thought was, Here we go. Another day in lockdown. How long had it been now? Going on four months. He’d read that the virus was causing a lot of stress and mental strain.   No wonder, especially for senior citizens like himself. As if being old wasn’t bad enough in itself; now they had some damn bug targeting them. It wasn’t as if they were taking any chances. About the only time they’d left their house was when the weather allowed them to taken a walk in their retirement community’s little park.

He looked over and saw that his wife Mary had already gotten up.He looked at the bedside clock, not eight o’clock yet. Like many in their retirement community, Joe and Mary battled insomnia. Being in lockdown hadn’t helped. Well, he might as well get up and face another day.

Mary was at the kitchen counter, cutting fruit into her cereal. Fruit was supposed to be good for oldsters like them. She asked him how he’s slept. “Not bad,” he told her. “How about you?”

“I was up around three,” she said. “I couldn’t get back to sleep so I took another pill.”

Joe poured his orange juice and took his usual pills, for his blood pressure so that he wouldn’t have a heart attack or stroke, for his digestion, for his arthritis and Vitamin D that was supposed to build up his immunity system. He too had cereal with fruit. He scanned the morning newspaper’s headlines, more virus cases, more people in the hospital, more deaths. The politicians in Washington still arguing over another stimulus bill. The argument over opening schools or not. Another night of rioting in Portland. Nothing there to make you feel any better about things.

After his cereal Joe would go out to the patio, have a leisurely second cup of coffee and tackle the paper’s crossword puzzle. This was his routine and, as he told himself, maybe the best part of his day. Mary meanwhile would be playing word games on her iPad with her friends, her routine. Joe was on his way to the patio when Mary said, “I wish you’d wash out your cereal bowl before you disappear.”

“I do wash it out. Well, maybe not all the time.”

“And put your cereal back up on the shelf for a change.”

“I’ll do it later, okay?”

“Why not do it now?”

“Because my coffee will get cold!”


“Look, all I want to do is relax for a few minutes. Is that asking too much?”

“I just wish you wouldn’t leave such a mess all the time.”

“I don’t leave a mess.” Joe took his coffee and the newspaper out to the patio and closed the door behind him, hard. He realized he was pretty mad. He stewed for a while, looking out at their back yard and seeing that it wasn’t as windy as it had been lately. That was something. Finally, he managed to concentrate on the puzzle and almost finished it.

He went back into the house. Mary was in her chair, looking at her iPad. She looked up at him. “I think we have the lockdown blues,” he said.

“I read that a lot of couples are divorcing.”

“Let’s not do that.”

“I wonder when this virus will go away?”

“It’s going to be a while. It’s not too bad out. Let’s go to the park.”

“All right. I’ll go get ready.”

“Don’t forget your mask.”

“Don’t forget your cane”

“Walking stick.”



There were a few other people in the park that morning, younger people, a couple of women walking their dogs, one man jogging. They saw an older couple, the man with a cane, walking slowly along the path, hand in hand.




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