Friday, March 27, 2020
I make myself wait until five pm for my glass of wine. Isn’t that strange? Conditioning, I suppose. They say people who drink before five have a problem. And I definitely have—well, more than one problem. Emphysema for one, and high blood pressure, and I don’t know what all. My son is trying to make me stop driving. Take my keys. I intend to make that task as gut-wrenching as possible for him. But for the duration, I can’t go anywhere anyway. My grocery store even has a time reserved for senior shoppers, so we don’t run into young folks with the virus. Eight to nine a.m. on Wednesdays. They gotta be kidding.
It’s only three fifteen.
I see Jenna Burke walking past. I wish I could call out to her and tell her to find out what’s happening at Victor’s house. Why was young Matt running? But I can’t make her hear me. She’s almost at the end of the block already. Poor Jenna is staying home with her three kids and trying to home school while staying in touch with her clients. She’s an attorney and her lucky husband is a firefighter so he gets to go to work as usual. Jenna is walking their dog. That’s her excuse to get out of the house, I think.
Speaking of firefighters, is this a firetruck coming down the street? It is.
It stops in the middle of the street, lights flashing, and two men run into Victor’s house. I strain my eyes to see into the dim cab of the firetruck. I think there is a third man at the wheel. I imagine they have to do that so they can take off in a hurry.
Two of Jenna’s kids have left the house and run down the street to catch up with her. The three of them are now standing at the corner. She’s holding their hands and one has taken the dog’s leash. They could continue on around the block but obviously they prefer to hang around, rubber-necking. I think this is a bad example for Jenna to set. An EMT vehicle pulls up behind the firetruck and I see a police car close to the curb at the end of the block. Two emergency people hop out with one of those wheeled gurney things and run into Victor’s house.
Five minutes later, they pop back out with a man on the gurney. I can tell it’s a man because he’s strapped down but they haven’t covered his face. I can see the white beard. An EMT is walking beside him, squeezing the balloon on a ventilator. It’s obviously Victor and he’s, thank God, alive. In seconds, they have him in the ambulance with siren screaming and the firetruck moving forward to get out of the ambulance’s way.
Without any conscious awareness, I find I have walked outside. I’m on the sidewalk in front of my house. Jenna sees me, turns, and waves, but we dare not move any closer so I yell, “call me” and she gives me the okay sign.
I inch down the sidewalk until I’m standing in front of Victor’s house but on the opposite side of the street. I see that Trader Joe’s shopping bag—the one Victor’s grandson was carrying—has been left beside the front door. I want to go across the street and grab it. At least see if there’s anything in it that needs to be put in the fridge. I’ll call Victor’s daughter-in-law and mother of Matt. Let her take care of it.