“Hear the sound of the falling rain… Coming down like an Armageddon flame (hey!) A shame-the ones who died without a name! Hear the dogs howlin’ out of key… To a hymn called faith and misery (hey!) And bleed, the company lost the war today! I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies. This is the dawning of the rest of our lives…On holiday.”
Friday May 22 2020: 5:00 am. The clock radio is quickly silenced, cutting Green Day’s Holiday short. Slipping from the warm confines of bed, he pauses to cast an eye over the other island in the sheets — where she peacefully slumbers for a while longer.
Standing before the mirror, he scratches distractedly at recently trimmed mutton chops. With a smirking nod to his reflection there is faux-pity for all those who’ve whined about missing their hair stylists. When did the definition of being a man change so much, he wonders.
As he puts on his work jacket he’s thankful to be working when so few are. Tossing his lunch bag over his shoulder, keys and phone in hand, he heads for the door where she’s waiting. She’s not working now but she is — working hard as a teacher, homemaker, moral support, all the while struggling to find new employment that’s just not there.
Straightening his face mask, she places a soft kiss on his cheek- “It doesn’t seem real!” she says. Maybe we need to redefine “real” he thinks, as he waves goodbye.
His day will be spent confined with co-workers: feisty Miss Lapuma, and motor-mouth Mr. Garcia. The days bleed together in a swirling struggle — do your job, be essential, maintain employment, bring home a paycheck, support your family- survive as best you can. At the end of the day that’s all you can do. Until reality reemerges or some form of it is reestablished.
“Hear the drum pounding out of time… Another protester has crossed the line (hey!) To find, the money’s on the other side. Can I get another Amen (Amen!) There’s a flag wrapped around a score of men (hey!) a gag… a plastic bag on a monument. I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies. This is the dawning of the rest of our lives…On holiday.”
Friday May 21 2021: 5:00 am. The clock-radio is quickly silenced, cutting Billie Armstrong’s lyrics short. Stumbling from the restless grasp of bed, he stops to look back over his shoulder – where she stares back nervously wide awake.
Standing before the mirror he runs his fingers thoughtfully through long unkempt sideburns. With a solemn nod to his reflection there is sincere pity for all those who he couldn’t save from themselves. He wonders when the definition of being a man changed so much.
Donning his battle armor he’s grateful to be alive when so few are. Slinging his chainsaw over his shoulder, shield and shotgun in hand, he heads for the door where she awaits. She’s not working now but she is — working hard as a teacher, home-defender, his sanity tether, all the while struggling to find a meaning to this that’s just not there.
Snugging his saw strap, she plants a passionate kiss on his lips — “It doesn’t seem real!” she says. What is “real” anymore? he thinks, as he hugs her goodbye.
His day will be shared with friends in combat: a fighting Miss Lapuma, and mercenary-minded Mr. Garcia. Days in continuous chaos are never the same: do your job, fight the good fight, watch your backs, bring home supplies, support your families — survive any way you can! At the end of the day that’s all you can do. Reality is over and what is left is all that remains real.
Saturday May 23 2020: 6:43 am. The clock radio is silent. Slipping from the warm confines of bed he pauses to cast an eye over the other island in the sheets; she’s not staring at him and that’s a good sign.
Such a vivid dream but it’s already fleeting. Perhaps, if he hurries… to the keyboard, he can capture the essence of it in words. Was that a premonition, a warning, the result of bad chili cheese fries or just an REM manifestation of his own mortal anguish? Now how to begin…let’s see what’s on the radio.
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