Sofia, 18

Summer has taken a breath and then gone quiet.  I, a new habitant of my grandparents’ house, spend my days in utter peace.  I sit in the lamplit cocktail room, the shelves lined with dusty books, and I smile.  

For the first time, I am comfortable being alone.  I am surrounded by less people than I ever have, and yet I have never felt more warm, more protected, more free.  

I laugh, dance, and cry without consequence or obligation.  Dreams rarely clutter my sleeping mind, and fare mild when I yield to them.

Not long ago I sat in the leather drivers’ seat of the old convertible and drove to wind and sea beach – right hand gripping the wheel, and the left dragging out the window, moving involuntarily with the wind’s rise and lull.  I watched the surfers for hours that day, sitting on a sandy rock.  Armed with wetsuits, they effortlessly wove through the crashing waves of icy-blue water, almost reaching the shore each time and swimming out again.  I focused my gaze on one of them – a tall male who seemed to conquer the relentless waves, slicing through them with his shortboard, body spinning through the air.  I felt his passion and grit from where I was sitting, sighing to myself because I knew I was finally as free as him.

Yes – the virus’s chains still hold the world by its neck.  

But my reality is filled with love.

It is my responsibility to keep them safe from the force decimating the people around us.  I go grocery shopping for them, take them for drives, organize socially-distanced visits with their friends.  And their gift to me is everything.

Every day I admire their fifty-six-year long love story.  The way he looks at her, the way she looks at him.  It’s all I want in life, and the way they share it with me makes me forget the wounds this virus has inflicted on me.  

And now, I sit writing this on a chaise in the green backyard, listening to “Une Barque Sur L’océan from Miroirs” by André Laplante, in complete bliss.

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