Dear Diary: Quarantine Begins

A fictional story by Austin Channing Brown

Day one of quarantine and the world has turned upside down. Sort of. Things inside my house seem largely the same. Mom is humming to Babyface in the bathroom while she washes her hair under the water in the tub. Soon she’ll call me into her bedroom to help her twist the back of her hair before her arms get too tired and fall off. Zoe still thinks she’s the boss of me. Her bossiness is worse now that she’s home from college. She’s only a year and 3 months older but swears that means something significant. The twins are in the basement doing what they do best- shouting and wrestling. Dad is playing referee, just making sure they don’t kill each other. All is normal- almost.

The hints of the outside world are hidden in the cracks of our home. It’s in the hum of the two deep freezers in the garage. It’s in the full pantry- one side marked “don’t even think about it”. It’s in the smell of our home. It used to smell like incense, hair products and little boy. But now there is a lingering smell of Clorox and candles. My parents have tried to maintain a sense normalcy, but we all know this is not normal. And we don’t know when normal will return.

I should be in school today. I was maybe almost excited about going because it was going to be the start of Spirit Week. Since I’m a senior it meant a week of classes without much actual learning. Just representing our school colors, shouting cheers and reminiscing about our last three years together.

So I went to the garage to find a box of my old books. Thank goodness Mom saved them! While we are all stuck at home, I have decided to reread all my favorite books from childhood and tell you all about them. I thought about trying to read something challenging like Beloved or Jubilee, but I think this time is challenging enough. Don’t you think? Maybe part of me just wants to be childish. Everywhere I turn, wonder has been replaced with fear. I want to feel wonder again. First up: Alexander and the terrible, horrible no good very bad day. The title seems appropriate.

To be continued

*typos exist to prove your love and grace unto me*