Diary of a Plague Year

Submitted into Contest #38 in response to: Write a story about someone learning how to play an instrument. ... view prompt

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Drama Funny

Dear Diary

Wow did that sound like I’m thirteen. Jesus. Ok, so we’re not calling you that. How about… Diar-dude. Dia? Di. Yea that’ll work, I guess. Should I just erase all that? Where’s my eraser?

Ok, so update. While I did have a few pencils left over from… something, I do not have any erasers beyond those nubby cruds at the end of said pencils and we both know those won’t do, so that’s an ixnay on the eraseray. I guess I could switch to just Word, but I dunno. A diary should be physical. Digital just doesn’t have the same heft, ya know?

Anywho.


Dear Di. It’s been a week since I’ve last seen the sun. 

Hah! I’ve always wanted to say that. Write that. Whatever.

Seriously tho, I’ve been locked at home the past week. Working as a barista has its perks, mainly that its unspecialized work someone who never finished high school can do (like me!) but it does have a few issues.

Angry customers, long hours and aching feet are a breeze, the high-stress environment and burnt hands build character, and we all know caffeine overdoses are a myth. I thought I had it all figured out but let me tell you Di, when Mr. N. Covid went and shut down every single cafe in the country, I was well and truly blindsided. If I’m being fully honest, I’ve never, ever actually considered how in the case of a freaking pandemic my place of work would be the first to go. My B.

My absolute bloody B.

This was two weeks ago. Last week we officially entered quarantine. In that time I’ve caught up on my laundry, washed the floor three times, finally fixed that squeaky hinge and dusted every shelf. Twice.

And so you were born! Because when a daddy Diary and a mommy Diary are very bored, they hug a lot and dig around in the closet and make you! Yay!!!

So here it is: My Diary Of the Plague Year. Cool title, huh? Thought of it all by meself.


Dear Di. It’s been two days since last contact. I’ve bought pasta.

Lots of pasta.

Like, too much pasta.

Also coffee, because I honestly can’t imagine what life would look like without it. Makes me shudder. Ugh.

Anywho, I’m a good little drone and heil capitalism and all, but gosh darnit am I glad I live under a pseudo socialist regime because let me tell you Didi, I would starve without that one-time-plague-special, get-it-or-forget-it unemployment check. 

Without money, how could I have bought coffee? Ugh. Literally, shudder.


HELP DI I’VE FINISHED ALL MY BOOKS AHHHH


It’s all good Di! Found my old guitar! Hallelujah! Praise the Elders and whatnot! 

Onward to Youtube!


Hey Di. I’ve got something to say and I’m not sure how to say it.

I’m lo lone l

Deep breaths.

Lonely.

There. It’s out. God that feels weird to say.

I guess I’ve always been alone. That isn’t anything to cry home about, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve been lonely. 

My job requires me to smile a lot, at least if I want any tips, but I’ve never really been a people person. Somehow my school friends always stayed just school friends, and work friends just work friends, and gym friends just gym friends. When I imagine myself as if I was happy, in my mind eye I always find myself alone.

Well, now I am alone. And I don’t think I’m happy. 

I spent the past hour running through my contact lists, looking at all those something friends and I can’t find a single one I want to talk to. A single person whose conversation I crave, even as I sit bored and alone and- and lonely.

Hey, Di? I don’t think I really have any friends.

Are you my friend?

Jesus Christ I’m losing it.


Hey Di. It’s been- I’m not sure how long actually. Let me check the date.

Jesus fuck. 

It’s been a bloody week. 

My sleep cycle broke, and with it my connection to reality. I am untethered, like an astronaut too far to see her shuttle. I have lost the rhythm of life, and yet somehow every day is the same.

I wake up, sometimes when its light, sometimes when its dark, and play the guitar. When my fingers hurt too bad I stop. Sometimes I remember to eat. Sometimes I don’t until my stomach twists and my muscles ache as they are digested by my starving body. To ease the boredom I watch some dumb show or reread a book or wash the floor again. When I can’t keep my eyes open I sleep, then I wake up and the cycle continues.

The days flow like smoke through my hands and I am falling.


I poured all my whiskey down the sink. I worried I might drink it.


Time is a social construct. Like sanity.


MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY WE’RE OUT OF COFFEE I REPEAT WE ARE OUT OF COFFEE SEND URGENT ASSISTANCE


I finally nailed Dust in the Wind. Hell yea!


I wonder if you can be bored when you’re dead.


Hey Di. It’s been a while. I’m not sure how long. I don’t feel like checking.

The curfew is finally, blessedly to end. My boss already offered me my job back but I’m not sure yet if I’ll take it.

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few months, locked in the house. Thinking why the weight of solitude was so great.

And I realized something.

It wasn’t solitude. Far more than the loneliness, the isolation, even the boredom was the realization that when it all ends, I’m just gonna go back to working at a cafe. 

The path of my entire life was laid out before me, and it was pointless. If I die tomorrow, or in a year, or in twenty, it would be as though I had never been born. The world would not mourn the loss of a twenty five year old barista who never finished high school.

I don’t want that. No, that’s not right. This fire, burning inside me, consuming me, giving me an energy and heat I haven’t felt for I don’t know how long is not a lack of desire. 

I want to be more.

I don’t think I’ve ever said those words. 

It’s nice.


Hey Di. 

Thanks. 

April 19, 2020 03:05

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1 comment

C. Jay Loren
13:21 Apr 26, 2020

A nice, quirky story. I think it captures being stuck in isolation well. Just a tip, maybe put some *** between the diary entries to help make each entry clear and separate.

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