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“Sleep is boring,” he mumbled.
“How about breakfast?” I suggested as I made my way towards to kitchen.
“That sounds nice, Mommy,” Tyler grumbled as he was set down on a chair at the dining table.
Soon, a bowl of cereal was set in front of him.
“Mommy, today is Waffle Wednesday. Why are we not having waffles on Waffle Wednesday?”
I sighed. How do you explain to a child the context of a community lockdown?
“I’m sorry, honey. The grocery was all out of waffle mix.”
I lied. There was waffle mix at the grocery. I just decided to buy other things, instead. Good thing that Tyler was five and I was still a goddess in his eyes. Thus, he just nodded and started to eat his cereal.
Soon, Alex, my thirteen-year-old, went into the kitchen. He looked like he was prepared to leave with his usual hoodie-jeans-sneakers combo. He grumbled a ‘good morning’ to us before he grabbed a piece of bread from the pantry and stuffed it in his mouth.
“Where are you going?” I asked as he made his way out of the door.
“Joey’s. Gonna play games,” he called back as he continued.
“Oh no, you don’t!” I rushed to stop him from leaving. He got startled as He blocked the door.
“What?” he retorted, removing the bread from his mouth.
“Classes being canceled does not give you the liberty to go out whenever you want,” I stated.
“Geez, Mom, what could possibly happen?” he scoffed as he retreated away from the door. He slumped onto the living room couch.
“It’s called a lockdown, Alex. No one is supposed to leave their homes. Do you want to be caught by the police? How am I supposed to get you from the station? Did they not say anything about it in school?”
“I know, okay?” He kicked his sneakers off, raising his feet onto the couch. He grumpily munched on the bread in his hand.
“Then, why are you still leaving?”
“I didn’t think it was that serious. People are overreacting.”
“They are not overreacting, Alex.” I sat down on the couch beside him.
“I know that everything is different right now. But, there are real dangers out there. The lockdown is just to make sure that no one else gets hurt. Let us just hope for the best that this ends soon. For the meantime, we just have to stay indoors.”
“How about Dad? He should be going to work, right?” Alex asked, finishing off the last of the bread.
“He was told to work from home so, no, he will stay in as well.” I patted Alex’s shoulder.
“Promise me that you are not going to bolt for the door the moment I turn my back around, okay?”
Alex chuckled. “I promise.”
“That’s settled,” I rose up from the couch. “Come on, let me get you a proper breakfast.”
The kitchen was filled with the smell of fried chicken as I cooked a few pieces with some mash for lunch.
Strong arms wrapped around my waist from behind. I smiled at the reflection of my husband at the nearby mirror.
“Done with your morning home shift?” I asked as I turned off the stove.
“Let’s just say the smell of fried chicken made me forget what I was doing.”
I giggled at his response while he took the spatula from my hand and transferred the chicken pieces onto the readied plate.
“How was your morning?” He asked me as we set the table for lunch.
“Did some laundry and watched some news. Looks like things are the same.”
“Day Three of the Lockdown. I hope Alex is not eating his fingers out of boredom.”
“I heard that,” Alex interjected as he entered the room with Tyler in tow.
“Hey, man! How’s it going?” Austin, my husband, asked as he lifted Tyler up onto a chair.
“Nothing much. Had a online gaming match with some friends but that’s it.”
“Did you win?” Austin asked again.
“No. We lost by six points, Dad.”
Austin nodded as if he knew all about what Alex was talking about which he didn’t. I snorted at his reply which received his mean glare.
“Hey, why are there only four pieces of chicken?” Alex asked, noticing that the food did not cover the whole plate like how he was used to.
“We have to ration our food supply,” I explained as we all sat down, “We do not know how long this lockdown will be and as of now, no store is open.”
Alex sighed. “Okay, Mom.”
“But if you get hungry, that is when we will cook some more. Okay? Now, let us say grace,” Austin answered before closing his eyes to start the prayer.
“Hey, Alex!” Dad’s voice echoed from the living room as I just finished uploading a video on my Instagram.
“Yeah?” I answered, approaching him from the kitchen.
He showed me the video that I just uploaded. It was a video of me dancing.
“You got some moves, son,” he teased.
“Daaaaddd,” I whined as I snatched the phone away from him to exit the app.
“No, no. I’m serious,” he explained, rising from the couch to get his phone back. “You got it from me, y’know?”
“You?” I asked, disgusted at the idea of him crumping. “ I never saw you dance.”
“Yeah, me. You think you got it from your Mom? She has two left hands for feet!”
“I heard that!” Mom’s voice hollered from Alex’s room. We both laughed at that.
“Really, why don’t you bust some moves?” I taunted.
He started to do a solo tango, a smirk plastered all over his face. It was old school but I have to admit that the foot work was there.
“Alright, wait,” I started to search my phone until I found a hip hop video. “Can you do this?”
He squinted his eyes through his glasses as he watched. “Yeah, yeah, I guess I can. The dances nowadays are so… robotic.”
“It’s called crumping, Dad. Soldier style,” I laughed. “So, can you do it or not?”
“Well, I think it will be easier if my boy danced with me. Old timer needs young blood to get in the game.”
“Alright,” I stood next to him. “So, you have to put your foot forward first like this then swing it around….”
“Daddy? Can we go to the park?”
I looked down on the floor from the newspaper that I was reading to see Tyler with his ball.
It has been five days since they announced the lockdown and Tyler was getting more bored by the day. I dread the day he starts wrecking stuff as a way to have fun. I laid the newspaper down on the side table and picked him up onto my lap.
“We can’t, Monkey. We have to stay inside.”
He hugged his ball and frowned.
“Because the mayor said we are not allowed to go outside.”
“Because it is dangerous outside.”
A lockdown is not the end for this family.
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“Because… there are zombies outside.”
His face lit up like the fireworks of our independence day.
“I wanna see a zombie!” He jumped out of my lap and ran straight to the door.
“Tyler, no!” I grabbed him by the waist and lifted him up.
“But, Dad! Zombies!” He exclaimed, struggling to get free.
I credit my wife and all mothers out there for staying sane while taking care of the kids.
“You can’t go outside. ‘Cause if the zombies see you then you will become a zombie too.”
He stopped struggling. “I thought zombies have to bite me for me to get infected.”
When did kids get so smart? I remember being so gullible when I was five that I believed my mom when she said that I will be taken away by the sleep police if I do not go to sleep before eight in the evening.
“Uhmm… it’s because they are a special kind of zombie. They transfer their zombie-ness to you when they see you.”
Tyler thought for a minute. “Is that why we are staying inside the house?”
“Yes!” I confirmed with relief.
“But, Mommy said that we are staying because she doesn’t want us to get hurt.”
“Hurt by zombies.” I assured, making a mental note of talking to Susan about this.
“But, how do we play ball now?”I lowered him onto the floor. I stood up straight and formed my arms into a ring in front of me.
He smiled in earnest, trying his best at shooting the ball into my arms. It did not even reach my waist.
“I think it is time that I teach you how to play proper basketball,” I suggested, much to his delight.
“No!” Austin shouted to the television as the contestant answered. “Chocolate is a better answer!”
“Survey says!” the television sounded as it aired an episode of Family Feud.
The whole family was at the living room. My husband and I were seated together with Alex on the couch. Tyler was on the carpet playing with his modeling clay and minding his own business. We decided to have some stir-fry noodles with the leftover burger patties from yesterday. They were cut up into teeny tiny bits and mixed in with the noodles along with some onions and bell peppers.
“Nope, I think he’s right. It’s vanilla,” Alex suggested with his mouth full of noodles.
The question was the top answer for favourite ice cream flavours. Vanilla appeared as the top answer.
“Oh man! I am so glad that there is no wager on this!” Austin sulked as Alex stuck out his tongue smugly.
The show went on commercial break and the local news reporter came on screen.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have an important announcement to make. It has been seven days since the mayor of Booksvilletown declared the whole city under lockdown. We are happy to announce that the lockdown will be officially lifted two days from now. I repeat, the lockdown will be officially lifted two days from now. So, be ready to see the sun again in a few days!”
We all cheered at the great news.
This story was shared by one of our writers. It depicts a 'typical' family day during a lockdown.
“Mommy, I’m bored,” whined a young voice from behind me.
I turned and gave a weak smile to my five-year-old son, Tyler.
He was still in his spacesuit pajamas as he gave me a blank stare.
“But, honey,” I replied, lowering myself in order to pick him up, “You just woke up. How could you possibly be bored?”
He reached out to me, grabbing the air as he did, as I lifted him up and carried him in my arms. He rubbed his eyes and yawned as if on cue. Tyler wrapped his arms around my neck and lay his head down on my shoulder.
“Does that mean that the mayor killed all the zombies already? We are safe now?” Tyler asked.
I gave my husband a stern eye before I answered. “Yes, honey, all the zombies are dead now.”
“Hey, it wasn’t so bad being stuck with you guys for a whole week,” Alex remarked.
“Whoa, I am so sorry that we invaded your space, Your Highness,” Austin teased, raising his hands in surrender.
Alex sighed and laid back on the couch.
“You are forgiven." I launched a pillow towards him, hitting him in the face. Tyler rolled in laughter.
“Hey!” Alex sat up, removing the pillow from his face. “Isn’t it Saturday when they lift the lockdown? Wanna go out?”
My husband and I looked at each other and smiled.
“Yeah, that would be nice. Alex,” I approved with a satisfied smile.
Written on 21st March 2020
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Abraham A L
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