Empty Streets

A Tesla drives by.  Its driver is asleep.  I hear no music from inside, and wonder if he’s really alive.

No one’s around.  It’s now getting harder and harder to believe there was a time, before the lockdown, that people went outside at all.  That people got together. It’s eerily quiet.  I feel criminal, and try to silence my steps.

At least the air outside is still fresh.

A bird sings.  Show off.  

I’m jealous, but I stop.  The song it sings reminds me of how much I used to like music.  When the words meant something.  When playing an instrument you can hold in your hand meant something. 

Sentimental sap.

It’s hard in times like these not to think of the past-those moments you might not have appreciated at the time but seemed to have since taken on a deeper, more intense life of its own.  They put on garments dignified and silky, otherworldly, and dance ballets through your mind.  They may be the flowing hair of a young girl, laughing in the sunshine.  They may be the rawness of the skin of your father’s powerful hand, hanging from on high, holding yours.  Or they may be the melody of a song you once knew, a song that always seemed to be in your ears, a song that lulled to you sleep or got you going in the morning.  

Then I realize that those melodies, and those memories alike, cannot change in time, cannot be improved or oversentimentalized, they were perfect and true the first time you saw them-the only thing that could minimize their worth is having them drowned out by sheer volume, by images and sounds harmless and meaningless.  

The entire Earth is drowned out.  It’s so quiet it seems like I’m underwater.  The airwaves are drowned.  The pictures on TV and on computer screens are drowned.  Even the few people I see on the street or online are wearing masks.

All the people I have known are gone.  All of my family are either dead or elsewhere.  There is no work to be found, no money to be had.

 It’s been seven years since the lockdown began-I wonder if it will ever be lifted?

 I feel lost, I feel as if I have lost.  And if that is so, then someone has won.


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