One of the first memes I saw online,
when we all turned even more toward our phones,
was of a dinosaur wearing a face mask and posing this question:
If Kevin Bacon gets COVID-19, does that mean everybody’s going to get it?
In response, the widely connected actor launched a love letter to the world with these words:
“Every one of us has someone who is worth staying home for.”
At night, when I’m feeling this isolation the most,
I’ll be honest when I tell you what is selfishly top-of-mind:
Who is staying home for me?
When my niece turned six last year, I asked Google to explain the significance of that number.
I’m not a numerologist or a mathematician and, these days, barely a writer,
but I most often turn to words.
To make sense of what’s around me, to calm myself to sleep, to connect the dots.
These are the facts a beautiful mind revealed to me in that search:
The smallest perfect number is six.
Perfect numbers are rare.
This is the sixth day I have been alone.
Speaking of Kevin Bacon, I have never felt the urge to dance more than I do now.
In the kitchen with my mother, who is hundreds of miles away.
With my landlord upstairs, who accidentally broke the thermometer in his shirtpocket.
Next to strangers, salty with sweat.
The average normal body temperature is ninety-eight point six degrees.
As fevers spike, along with hysteria, we’ve been told to stay six feet apart.
A safe and healthy distance, though, isolation is what the doctor really orders.
The separation is wearing us thin, but it’s also making room for our best to rise to the top.
Twelve years ago, when I first came out, I bought a book called
“Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.”
On long walks outside, with my headphones in but the music turned off,
I’ve been hearing strangers’ versions lately.
Note: Sometimes we have to contract in order to expand.
I won’t hold this against you.
I love you, and I’m sorry.
I wish I could hug you.
Is dad finally staying home now?
Perhaps the revolution *will* be televised,
before we’re all forced six feet under.
And, if we’re lucky and smart enough to hear the lesson,
from six continents speaking their truths to the one we’re on,
we’ll all emerge better than before.
Screensdown, hands outstretched, eyes up.