Sabrina Orah Mark’s column, Happily, focuses on fairy tales and motherhood.
Once upon a time a Virus With A Crown On Its Head swept across the land. An invisible reign. A new government. “Go into your homes,” said the Virus, “or I will eat your lungs for my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The city that never sleeps shall fall into a profound slumber, your gold shall turn to dust, and your face shall be pressed against the windowpane.”
“And the elders, for fear of death, shall not embrace the young.”
The Virus was colorless and cruel. Some believed it to be the child of a bat, but no one knew its origin for sure. Some said it reminded them of a dead, gray sun.
The fairy tale I will write about this time is this one. The one we’re inside.
All night I dream of buying a chicken. I am scared of us all getting sick, so I need to make jars and jars of bone broth to freeze, but there are no chickens left in the poultry section of our supermarket. Instead, just cold, empty shelves. They glow white like hospital beds. If I can’t find a chicken I should at least sew my sons’ birth certificates into their wool coats, but it’s springtime and there is pink dogwood blooming everywhere and where are we going? We are going nowhere.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to see my mother again.
“What day is it?” asks Noah, my eight-year-old. He wanders away before I can even answer.