“Dispatch from a Pandemic: Arlington, Virginia, and Denver” by Raima Larter

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House, Quinn Dombrowski

corona samWe have a new house in Denver, closed up for the coronavirus season. They say the virus comes in waves like the seasons, waxing and waning, peak upon peak as it eats away at our numbers. I wonder if this season has an end.

We were supposed to be moving into that house, unpacking boxes, putting down shelf paper, buying chairs and bookcases to fit those curved walls, feathering the nest where we’d live out our days.

I wanted to choose the place I would die, to settle before the moment was upon me. I wanted to be in the mountains when it happened, where the air is dry and cold. And so we bought this house.

After all, there’s no telling when the cancer might return.

When the virus hit, a pestilence moving from country to country, city to city, state to state, we went on lockdown, shutting ourselves in to avoid the bad air, the very breath of our neighbors.

The new house remains shut. Unopened moving boxes stacked by a wall. A few sticks of furniture scattered about. And a brush I once used to paint those curved walls.

–April 10, 2020

Postscript: Two weeks ago, after a terrifying flight on a plane packed with too many people, we traveled to that empty house and began to unpack boxes. At least I am back in the mountains.

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Before moving to the Washington, DC, area, Raima Larter was a chemistry professor in Indiana who secretly wrote fiction and tucked it away in drawers. Her work has appeared in Gargoyle, Chantwood Magazine, Cleaver, BULL, Linden Avenue and others. Her first two novels, Fearless, and Belle o’ the Waters, were published in 2019.