• R. Gurley

Breaking Bread

I sat at this table last year anxious. I woke before the sunrise, grabbed my phone, sat in the chair facing the table and scrolled for some kind of answer. Everything on earth was closed- schools, businesses, borders. The numbers on my screen rose daily of the infected, of the deceased. I was confined to my house, sentenced to watch the world from a computer monitor.

I formed opinions. I got angry and had fights with people close to me. I walked my dogs a lot. We found walks we had not known of before. I had time in the morning to listen to my breath. I sat at this table and pecked the keyboard until the letters faded. My hair grew long. A new normal replaced the normal before. The only abnormality was the mask I wore when I went into the world of the plagued. This is how I spent last year.

I sat at a table last night with people. Some of whom I have spent many Wednesday nights over the past year. I would sit at this table and look at their faces on the computer displays. We’d read what we’d written; we’d tell each other how we were doing; we’d talk about what was going on. Some of them I had never met in person until last night. It was good to sit among them.

One of the people at the table was a nurse who worked in intensive care. She was not one of the writers, but she had a story to tell. She spoke of what it was like in the emergency room in the months while we were locked in our rooms creating better worlds to live in.

“Oh, it’s real,” she said a few times.

We nodded our heads. Opinions not everyone agreed upon were expressed. Nobody took offense. Our eyes watching the colors of the desert sunset; our ears full of its wind. Someone raised a glass and said,

“At least we are here.”

We raised our glasses. All of us happy to break some bread, the one thing we can agree upon.

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