COVID-19 isolation, New Orleans. It sounds like wind in old live oak trees and gunshots down the street. Tonight a storm is on its way. The sky has been gray all day and it's wicked hot. I have been alone for two months now.
I took my dog, who is battling some war of his own with his gut, out back of my apartment building. I heard a party from the third story. A man I know a little, somebody who used to likely be a pro athlete, leaned into his wide-open window, his ass on the sill. He was naked from waist up. I couldn't see below that from my vantage point. He had people over. I couldn't tell how many but could see at least three others.
He's nice enough as a neighbor. There are over forty of us now in the building. Every time I let the dog out, I touch door after door. I try to follow wise cultures who've not had easy access to running water for centuries. I have a dirty hand and a clean hand for the task of getting my dog outside to smell the small patches of grass amongst the parking spaces.
Some of my best friends live only a few blocks away, but I can't visit them on Easter Sunday. I'm making a pot of soup to feed a dozen people for my own dinner. I'll freeze the rest of it, save it for later till I move out of this place at the end of June when my lease is up. I wonder if I will have to wear a mask then. Still. I exchange food preservation small talk on the phone with my father, states and states away, and fill my apartment up with the scent of barley and thyme.
Note from the editor:
NOLA has faced impossible odds in the past, and it's always the community pulling together that gets us through. Even at a time like this, when we are all sheltering at home, physically removed from our community, it's important to remember, "Storms Never Last."