Introvert Shorts Part 5- Isolation By Ashley Houston

Don’t go outside they say. Don’t go anywhere. Keep your distance.

This isn’t different than how I normally am. I like to keep to myself and I am not a fan of large gatherings.

“It’s a nice day outside, isn’t it Steven?” 

I watch the world from inside. I imagine how nice it must feel out there. Out there in my front yard where the bumblebees and wasps are coming out to play. 

I inch toward my front door; thankful I took the week off from work. 

Not that a bookstore is in high demand at a time like this. 

It has been a few days since I last ventured out into the world. 

The world isn’t normally scary to me. I carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with me.

My feet walk with a mind of their own as I inch out onto my front porch. The world is buzzing with life. Flowers sway in a silent melody while the breeze ruffles my shaggy hair.  

The world outside looks so much brighter than how it is painted. It is times like this when I am by myself outside on a nice day that I feel complete. I can close my eyes and breathe in deeply without a care in the world. Even if it is only for a few seconds. A few seconds where I am not worried about what is happening. A few seconds where I can just imagine that everything is going to be okay. That everything is okay.

Steven meowing at me in annoyance brings me back to the present. I realize I am standing on my front porch with my eyes closed and my face turned up toward the blue sky. 

It was early and I had neglected to give Steven his morning treat. He gets so spoiled when I am home all the time. 

I picked up my phone and scrolled through my messages, as I absent-mindedly poured half a bag of treats into Steven’s dish. 

There were no new messages. I had sent my mom a message last night asking if dad was doing okay. There was still no word from her. 

            “Let me know if there is anything you need me to do.” 

After I sent a message to my mom. I sat down onto the cool cat scratched leather of my comfy chair and turned on my tv. 

My dad had tested positive for the virus, while my mom had not.

The last time I had talked to her they were both doing okay. She did not want to leave my dad by himself. They had not left their house for a week. I worried about food although I knew they would have enough. My mom always overbought stuff when she went shopping. She would send me care packages, even though I only lived an hour away. 

They are okay. Stop this. Stop Heather. Everything is okay. 

My parents were strong so I had to have faith that they would be strong enough to get through this new illness. 

The news anchor on channel 3 was talking about the growing numbers and how medical supplies were running low.

It was crazy. Here of all places already running out of supplies seemed so odd to me. Unheard of, almost. I didn’t want to listen to the voice bouncing around my room, nor did I want to watch the colorful photos and charts that danced around the screen, but I did. I did watch it. I watched it until I had to turn it off for a while. I had to get away from the worry that it was causing. 

My hands itched to be busy. To be busy with something. I paced around my house until I came to my unfinished canvas. I had been home for five days. I had avoided my canvas for all that time. Why? I’m not quite sure why I have been avoiding it. It is just something that I am itching to do. I haven’t allowed myself the solitude to do what I yearn to do. To sit in front of my canvas and pick up my paint-splattered paintbrush and become lost within my own world. 

The paintbrush drips a blob of baby blue paint onto a blank space. It’s an inch of my undiscovered imagination. It’s an inch that turned into minutes and hours. 

My canvas is a colorful world. It’s a world where I can spend hours touching up and redesigning, until I feel like it is complete. 

Steven lovingly claws the top of my sock-clad foot, successfully pulling me out of my colorful world.

It’s easy to smile right now. I stand up and stretch, momentarily ignoring Steven, who was glaring angrily at me while standing in front of my bedroom door. 

“No worries, I will be there to fill your food bowl.” He wandered off into the living room, no doubt waiting on me to follow him into the kitchen. 

I took a few moments and pieced my canvases together on my bed. The one I had just finished was the missing piece of the clouded blue sky that I had been working on for months. 

This is a work in progress.

Introvert Shorts and photo by Ashley Houston.

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