I’ve been crying a lot. So much I worry that my neighbors can hear me through the plaster walls of my apartment building in the South Bronx.
The hardest part of every day is when my eyes first open and I am reacquainted with my new surreality: I am confined to my apartment unless absolutely necessary. If I leave, I must arm myself with hand sanitizer, stay six feet from another person, and keep my own hands off my own face. Humans weren’t meant to live like this. What makes it worse is that no one seems to know when it will end.
Sleep is becoming more elusive and less reliable as the pandemic—its uncertainty, its isolation, its possible death toll, its mass layoffs—turns my dreams into nightmares. I wake up at 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 in the morning to watch shows I’ve seen over and over on Netflix. It brings a sense of normalcy, a reminder of a world that now seems to be free-falling through my fingers.
Like many New Yorkers, I’d seen the handwriting on the wall before our governor officially put the state “on pause.” I rushed out in the rain to stock my refrigerator and my pantry as full as I could. I did well, but now I don’t even know what to do with it. I used to be a good cook—as my mother put it, I had “the touch”—but now I cook badly. I can’t focus. I burn things. I use too much salt, or forget it altogether. It’s just as well. I’m not hungry anyway.