I don’t recall exactly when social distancing began inside our home.
It may have started after the argument with my husband about how to properly pop a bag of popcorn. I was accused of not flattening out the bag before putting it into the microwave. While the accusation was undoubtedly true, I had to point out that I’ve been popping our popcorn for fourteen years and he had never noticed before. I took the bag back out. There may have been a heated stare as I slowly bent back the flaps.
Or it might have been after my husband decided to take a break from work. He went downstairs and turned on a show to watch with the kids. He did this without consulting me first, thereby throwing off the vague schedule that I had created for the children and me. I had neither publicized my schedule nor was I following it. But I could have been following a schedule, and if I were, he would have been disrupting it.
It could have been the eighth time I’d left his favorite pen in my purse instead of keeping it by the phone or when he left sour cream on the counter overnight instead of putting it back in the fridge or when I said I’d put his razors on my shopping list and immediately forgot or his relentless stirring of the hash browns that didn’t need stirring.
It’s hard to say when it happened.
But it’s undeniable that a healthy space of six feet or maybe six rooms formed between my husband and me. A special quarantine dance of retreating into video games and makeup tutorials commenced. Alone time in rooms, unsynchronized bedtimes and wake times, and simply disappearing for hours on end became our way of avoiding…the virus.
When Wisconsin showed signs of slowly reopening, a flicker of life sparked in my husband’s eye that I hadn’t seen for a while. Without a word, his temporary home office he’d set up in our bedroom was dismantled in a matter of days. I wasn’t offended. Quarantine had forced our spheres of governance into an unstable Venn diagram, the center portion a whirling storm of shared daytime resources, vastly disparate levels of organization, and two short fuses.
Quarantine has been referred to as a marriage accelerator. My husband has accelerated right out the door and back to work.
He took his pen with him.
Despite quarantine, Meg Matenaer is still happily married. She and her family live in Wisconsin, where she writes fiction about the relationships that bring out our best…most of the time. Write in Time is available at Amazon.