Love in the Time of Corona

They were both sitting on the sofa. In the background, the clock ticked, a gentle reminder that time was actually moving, and a few cicadas called out as if to prove life still went on without them.

It was day twelve—perhaps already thirteen—of self-isolation, and the initial novelty of cooking and cleaning and pretending to be a veritable housewife had worn off.

Outside, the virus continued to grow into an all-consuming wolf that killed the old and ravaged those with preexisting conditions. Those who could work from home scrolled on, while Gojek drivers outside continued to trace the map like green blood in the veins.

Outside, a food cart went by, the tock-tocking of its owner hopelessly searching for a hungry mouth with a wallet.

Inside, out of sheer unquantifiable apathy, she stuck her finger in his belly button. Soft folds of skin gave way to a crusty outcrop, some forgotten thing like they were. She dug a little harder, relieved for a moment’s activity, and then he exploded. Out of that tiny hole came guts and intestines, Indomie noodles and neatly sliced red pepper. They poured out in a chain, covering the sofa, splattering the ceiling. The floor became a sea, his face a picture of surprise. She could not move for the sight.

As quickly as it began, it was over. A deflated balloon of a body lay next to her. She wanted to run from the house, kidneys precariously dangling from her right ear, but she could not. She had already completed her one trip to the shop and it was another week until she allowed herself out again.

The sky turned from dusky blue to orange, the call-to-prayer cried out to empty streets. Only one more month until the peak, she thought. The sky grew darker, only one more month.

And then, sifting through the gore that was her living room, she found the remote and began scrolling through the channels.

First Published on Flash Fiction Magazine’s blog: