Love in the Time of Corona, Part 15 “Spitting on Nothing”


Daily Anthony would rise, fall immediately to the floor for a hundred fast pushups and head out the door to the corner bodega. There he would purchase a ham and cheese croissant; a real paper newspaper; and on Tuesdays, flowers. The paper was for Miss Ann. The flowers he’d deliver by Miss Clarissa’s house. After Anthony left the store each morning he followed pretty much the same routine. The breakfast he’d consume on the way to his first stop, Miss Ann’s.

Miss Ann is a septuagenarian matriarch who keeps an eye on things around Bastion, the veterans’ community where Anthony lives. 

“Here go your paper, Miss Ann,” Anthony would say as he handed it to her on her porch.

“Please get up here and give me a hug,” said Miss Ann.

“That’s an order I’ll glad follow.”

And he did.

“You are the sweetest of all my spiritual grandchildren around here always bringing me the paper and those brownies you made the other day were from heaven, oh, and those chicken and dumplings last week?! Where did you get those? They were ‘bout the best chicken and dumplings I’ve ever had!”

“I made ‘em!” Anthony beamed.
“You?! What is your secret, Sugar?”

“Marines never give away secrets now, Miss Ann.”

“Oh you go on!” Miss Ann laughed. 

Since the coronavirus, Anthony still follows the same ritual although the store takes a bit longer now since people go in one at a time and stand six feet apart while waiting in line outside. 
On the first day after Miss Ann’s grandson died, when Anthony dropped the paper off my Miss Ann’s, he yelled to let her know it was on her porch rail. Miss Ann pulled back the drapes and with a sad smile hugged her own body in proxy of Anthony’s. Then, since it was Tuesday, Anthony ran off to lay the flowers at Miss Clarrissa’s grave.

(This is historical fiction. Clarrissa is alive and well, thank God and for the record my dumplings and brownies are much better than Anthony’s.)

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