Always a Bright Side

“We’re prisoners,” I tell my husband when we go to bed.

I say this after I’ve taken off all my hearing gear so I can barely hear the words when they come out of my mouth. He starts in on an answer. I find this irksome since all he really has to do is nod. Yes, we are prisoners. I seek agreement with outrageous statements, not parsing or debate. A simple nod will do.

COVID-19 has made us prisoners, prisoners with an indeterminate sentence but with a possibility of early parole. Depends on whether the vaccine supply can get amped up and the sign-up confusion resolved. It would be hyperbole to say we are imprisoned for life or, worse, on death row. We are just seemingly forever stuck in our house – oh, and the dog park.

My husband is less unnerved by this than me.

He replies. He starts by enunciating each word very carefully. He says a word and waits for me to repeat it. This always feels like charades. It is time consuming and dumb. Except when it’s endearing, which is about every third time he does it.

This time, I get stuck after the first word. The.

Then there is a long word. He says it several times. Draws a P on my palm with his finger. Animates his enunciation like he is in super expressive spoken word contest. I am irritated and want to read my book.

He tries again. Makes two fists and holds them in front of his face like he is gripping the bars of a cell, makes a pitiful frown. Prisoners.

Okay, fine, I say, and turn to my book. It’s a 1,300 page book. I read five pages each night. Will I get the vaccine before I finish the book?

The next word is hard. He says it 10,000 times. Why he doesn’t find a pencil and paper I will never understand. It is his unique life challenge. He spells it out on my hand. H – A – D.

He smiles at this great progress. It always baffles me how he could be so committed to this course of action. He says the next word three or four times and then I get it. Pizza.

The prisoners had pizza.

He nods his head wildly and laughs. Victory!

Yes, the prisoners had pizza.

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