I still feel like a ghost unto myself ~ my present, weary incarnation constantly haunted by the specters of who I was and who I might have been. I would dress as Lethargy for Hallowe’en were I not already cloaked in it.
Why do you think someone might be seeking revenge on your father? He has always been ~ always seemed to me ~ a kind and decent human. Whom do you suspect? Whisper more in the epistolary ear of
I had the dream again, though it had a different feel to it. This time I wasn’t part of the dream; I was more of a spectator gazing out over the landscape from a height. I watched the wood turn from a place of sun to one of mist. I saw the fog tread over the trees like a fever over the forehead of a sick child. And like a fever, it seemed to play a dual role, inflicting suffering while burning out a disease.
The world turned under me and our pond came into view. Again, the setting sun emerged and illuminated the pond and again I thought —— dragon.
The dreams mean something; they must, don’t you think? I feel the connection is just out of the reach of
Here at my house, we’re in self-quarantine mode. A week ago Saturday, my husband drove up into the mountains to fetch home our son for Spring Break. The next day, Sunday, late in the afternoon, two days AFTER colleges let out for vacation, the Colorado Health Department put out an alert stating that all those in several mountain towns, including our son’s, should NOT LEAVE and, if they had, they should isolate themselves for fourteen days.
Monday I called the Health Department (and was on hold so long that the battery on one of our handsets gave out) and was told, yes, we all had to stay at home for the fortnight. (Just for the record, the woman with whom I spoke was kind and sensible. She answered all my questions and never rushed me to get off the phone.) So the warning came too late for us, and we’re mostly here at home. My husband and son, as recommended, are getting out for solitary walks and bike rides, both of them careful to stay six feet away from anyone else. My M.E. keeps me closer to home, but we are fortunate enough to have our own backyard and a park across the street.
So far, none of us is showing any signs of the virus, but I suspect it’s only a matter of time before at least one of us comes down with it. I confess the prospect of having a tube put down my throat to breathe for me scares me tremendously. Worse is the idea of someone for whom I care being taken away someplace where I can’t ladle chicken soup down her or his throat.
We’d been having groceries delivered, but now the demand is so high for both delivery and curbside pick up that we haven’t been able to schedule a time to obtain food. We’ll be able to hold out until Saturday when, presumably, we’ll be able to shop for ourselves again.
A lot has been written about the perils of isolation, and I feel some of that. Jenny Lawson wrote
I am a natural introvert so I’ve been training for this for my whole life, but don’t let anyone tell you that this is easy for hermits. Personally, I’m feeling very grateful that Victor and I already work from home and Hailey has been in correspondence high school so this shouldn’t really feel very different for us but honestly it really is and it’s very easy for me to fall back into my agoraphobic tendencies and spiral into a depression or let my anxiety spin me out so remember to take care of yourself and others mentally during this time.
I’m another introvert, but just knowing that I can’t go places I need or want to go (I’m missing physical therapy and doctors’ appointments, and do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been to the book store? It’s been over three weeks now, people. I expect to get the literary DTs any moment and start talking to large, pink Elizabeth Bennets, Violas, Bagginses, and Peter Grants) makes me feel trapped. I’m finding that sheltering in place isn’t helping my anxiety and depression either.
But for now, what’s harder is the lack of isolation. I’m used to spending most of my time by myself, but now there are these two big guys in my space ALL THE TIME. They act like they live here. The nerve! The gall!
To make matters worse, our house has paper-thin walls and air ducts that carry sound beautifully. So while it’s possible to close a door and not be seen, there is no aural privacy, no way to have a bit of a cry, throw a minor tantrum, conduct a confidential conversation, or indulge in some maniacal laughter without being overheard.
While I could use a few hours of isolation, that’s probably about all I could take. Ultimately, I’m happier with my family here at home, where I am irrationally believing that I’ll be able to ward off this virus with my well-honed Evil Eye. Please don’t disillusion me.
You are ~ you always are ~ kindness itself. Even with our long friendship, I don’t know how you tolerate my moods. I also don’t know I’d tolerate the world without you. You are the one person who will never sling my heart around.
Dr. Torres seems genuinely to want to help, but she is Sibyllic in her utterances. The riddle is in the parted ash? What might that mean? Are you as confused as
There was no letter from you today. The low-tending part of my brain says you have every reason to ignore me, that I am a weary, wearisome parasite sucking out your energy when most you need to conserve and hoard it for yourself.
But this line of thought is unfair to you. I have been several kinds of misfit in my life, and never have you made me feel
Despite the seriousness of your struggles ~ and are not your struggles mine as well? ~ your letter made me smile. When I told you a few days ago that it would good for your to go out for a spell, it never occurred to me that you would go out for a spell! How clever you are!
I am fascinated that Dr. Torres hid the spell in a hair ornament. From your description, I imagine it looks somewhat like this:
Your bravery inspires me; I feel a kind of courage begin to creep into my soul. If I can only find a way to gather enough strength to act on that mental mettle meandering into my spirit!
But, Bridie, you did not tell me how you are to use the charm. In fact, curiosity about your enchanting talisman has me
I have just awakened, and before I drift away again, I shall tell you what I had hoped to impart in yesterday’s epistle.
You never told me what you thought of the dream I had, but I don’t blame you; you have enough and more on your mind, and it seemed such a silly, sleeping story.
But, Bridie, I keep having the same dream — or versions of the same dream. One aspect is always the same: I walk alone, but you are with me, or I am you, or we are one. I’m never sure how it works, but in the dream it now seems quite natural. And now that I think of it, this odd fusion seems like what Dr. Torres described in your father, doesn’t it?
And, Bridie, I become more convinced that there is something to these dreams, some message I am missing. Perhaps it is a wish born of my frustration at being confined here when I want so urgently to be with you!
Last night, in the dream-world at least, everything was wild, wild, wild. The wood was wild; the tame trees of our childhood stared from their knots wildly; the mist swirled with a contained wildness, as if it took enormous will not to fling itself out and up through the treetops; the pond itself was wild, with waves flinging themselves on the shore like an ocean in miniature.
And I/you/we were wild ~ wild with a strange freedom, with a compelling seeking, with a desperate hope driving me/us along paths familiar and ways that were strange. It felt exhilarating, dangerous, right.
And then I woke, full of disappointment ~ no, anger, wrath even ~ at how useless in the real world I am to one who has stood by me so