The Worst Thing in the World Hasn’t Happened Yet

By Patricia Bunin When I was five and had to have my tonsils out, I thought it was the worst thing in the world. I counted to almost six and I was asleep. When I awoke, no more tonsils but my mother was sleeping on a cot next to my hospital bed and a bowl of ice cream was on the tray stand.  The worst thing hadn’t happened yet. It would be 70 years later that  I found myself counting the steps from the doorway of my husband’s den to…

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His Crowd Flouts Social Distance

By Allene Symons Today A.J. asked, for the umpteenth time, “Why can’t we go to our restaurant?” meaning his favorite place, which happens to be shuttered. “It’s closed, because of the coronavirus.” “The what?” “The pandemic. Coronavirus. Covid-19.” I repeat all three, hoping one will click. “Most of the nation is staying home, you know.” But that’s a slip-up on my part, because my husband does not know. During the past month, while we’ve been sheltering in place, he has further lost his grip on reality. My husband has dementia.…

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Love Without Touch

By Felis Stella Monday. 7am. Time to shop for mom and dad. Mask – check. Gloves – check. Sanitizing wipes – check. I open the door to a gorgeous sunny morning, greeted by a choir of birds. It’s springtime – nature is rejoicing for we are staying out of its way… I look up at the sky. In my 30+ years in Los Angeles I’ve never seen a sky so blue. My eyes are burning. Is it the bright sun? Or the lack of smog to protect me from the…

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Hello Old Friend, RIP

By Gill Pringle Hello old friend, Hard to believe thirty-some years have passed since we first met as cub reporters in the newsrooms of Britain’s infamous Fleet Street when it was still home to most of the country’s newspapers; a place of intrigue, scandal and career-making, government-toppling scoops. A few years later, you left to launch your career in New York as a foreign correspondent for all our favourite British titles while I did the same in Los Angeles – both of us reporting on the peculiarities of American life.…

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Contagion

By Karen Ocamb COVID-19 is new, contagious, and fast. Three months ago, the world screamed: “Be afraid of everything — the air, surfaces, people.” As of May 1, the W.H.O. reports nearly 240,000 deaths worldwide, deaths that many believe could have been prevented.  I’ve been here before. In the early 1980s, as an unknown virus killed homosexual men in New York City and California, the Reagan administration expressed no alarm that the HTLV-III virus was a communicable disease. In fact, White House press secretary Larry Speakes repeatedly joked or shrugged…

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Fear of Becoming Ophelia

By Anita W. Harris Lately, it’s been hard to get out of bed in the mornings. Forced isolation during this pandemic has taken a toll on my motivation. Nothing seems worth doing. So on a recent Saturday, I stayed in bed. There was nowhere to go, no Zoom meetings to attend. It seemed the most sensible thing to do. Or was it? I couldn’t help but wonder, how would I know if I were losing my ability to reason? Most things don’t make sense now, like avoiding my neighbors as…

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Out of Crisis May Come Progress

By Ruby Scanlon As a young girl, my sister always had this innate goodness to her– always tending to whatever weeds grew in the outside patch of grass we called our backyard, or caring for any stray cat that came wandering it’s way to the front door. I think the enormity of her heart was best revealed in her declaration of what she knew her profession to one day be. While her peers all wished to grow up and be a princess, rockstar, or athlete, my sister gleefully declared one…

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Trapped in New York City

By Alexis Daish “We have breaking news, the pandemic now hitting our aviation industry – Qantas has announced it’s standing down two-thirds of its staff.” Standing on Wall Street, I couldn’t have felt further away from home. I’d been in New York for days, never returning to Los Angeles as planned after Harvey Weinstein’s sentence. I was going live in thirty seconds, breaking news to Australia that traders on the NYSE floor tested positive to COVID-19. I heard the presenters of our breakfast TV show – Today Show – gasping…

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Pandemic Pals: Tales from the Sofa

By Pam Tallman “Don’t kill it!” I shouted at my husband. The shocked look on his face I’m sure matched that of the spider he was about to flatten. That’s how starved for conversation I am, I’ve started chatting with the spider who has taken up residence in my kitchen garden window. In fact, we’ve become good friends. You might say, pandemic pals.  I first met Spidella—Spidey was already taken—a week ago when I spotted her crawling across my kitchen countertop. (Actually I have no idea if it’s a him…

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Temblors

By Shawna Kenney “Thank you for being an awesome dog,” the veterinarian said, kissing Nolan’s copper-colored head before making the final injection. Nolan died in my lap on Feb 5th. My husband Rich and I were still grieving when the global pandemic hit in March, but getting back to normal, able to talk about other things, adjusting to the missing canine energy in the apartment. I finally started sleeping through the night—after having to get up to check on him so much in his last weeks, when the cancerous tumors…

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