MONTH FOUR

Julia Lee

I was going to become fluent in Spanish.  Downloaded a free app and learned how to say cat (gato) and dog (perro) and extra large margarita with no salt (margarita extra grande sin sal).


But I was so exhausted after my language instruction I needed a margarita.  Found some tequila in the back of the pantry, wiped the dust off the bottle.  Tequila can’t go bad, can it?  Miraculously we had some Cointreau.  Lime juice?  Nope.  Was it worth it to risk a trip to the market for fresh limes?  We’ve been trying so hard – my boyfriend is the one who makes the once a week trip to Ralph’s.  We haven’t risked Costco yet.  Thank God you have to wear masks in California.


Tequila, Cointreau, lemon juice (practically the same as lime juice, just a different color, right?), a little simple syrup I made myself (a cup of sugar, a cup of water, heat it up on the stove – voila), ice, no salt (sin sal).


Rick didn’t want a margarita.  Too many calories, he said.   Sometimes I hate him.


Not really.


Really.


Learn Spanish.  Back in March that was the plan.  Right now if I ever go to Mexico (if I ever leave the apartment), I can say, Tu perro es bonito (your dog is pretty) or Tu gato es lindo (your cat is pretty) or Date prisa con esa margarita extra grande sin sal (please hurry up with that extra large margarita with no salt).


I was also going to exercise every day.  Twice a day.  Streaming workout classes plus some yoga and Rick has hand weights and bands and a pull-up bar.  And I’ll walk.  I’m being realistic, no way am I going to run.  I hate running, running sucks monkey balls.  But walking – walking feels incredible.  I’ll get up early.  Walk before breakfast.  Up in the hills.  I don’t need hiking trails.  Sidewalks will be fine.  And after a sensible breakfast (fruit, black coffee), I’ll work (thank God I still have a job although Zoom calls with “the team” make me anxious because I know Karyl is after my job and who the fuck brings muffins to a Zoom call, can you say “suck up?”) and after a sensible lunch (tuna, no bread, fruit, black coffee), I’ll walk again.  Back to work, a sensible snack (nuts, unsalted), and a final workout (yoga, hand weights) and I’ll make dinner for Rick, a sensible dinner (chicken or fish, a vegetable), and won’t he be impressed?  Maybe we can walk together in the mornings.  


Who said stay at home has to be bad?  It’s going to bring Rick and me closer.  Plus, by the time stay at home is over, I’ll be ten (fifteen) pounds lighter and in the best shape of my life.  Not to mention fluent in Spanish.


Go me!  (Ve a mi!)


A great plan.  In theory.  Did you know there’s no limit on how many bags of Double Dark Chocolate Milanos you can order from Amazon Fresh?


The best part of Amazon Fresh is how you don’t see the delivery person so they can’t shame you for the seven bags of Double Dark Chocolate Milanos.  And Zebra popcorn.  And Salt and Vinegar Pringles.  And the Screamin’ Sicilian Mother of Meat frozen pizza that probably has 8,000 calories and the day it came Rick was at the market so I popped it in the oven and ate it before he got home.


Oh, well.  I’ll work out extra hard.


No, I won’t.


Rick has been waking up at 6:30.  To run in the hills.  He says running is “exhilarating, a rush.”  I think if I watch him closely enough I can actually see his hairline recede.


You could come with me, he says.  I pretend I don’t hear him and make a snoring noise.  When I finally get out of bed, he’s back from his run and showered and he’s made a healthy breakfast.  Yogurt and granola.  He doesn’t notice me eat a handful of Zebra popcorn.


“Lost another pound,” Rick announces and to my credit I don’t smash his head in with the cast iron skillet, I should get points for restraint, anybody would agree with me.  When he takes his shirt off he says, “I think I’m getting a six-pack.”


I look over at the cast iron skillet.  Maybe I’ll make a Double Dark Chocolate Milano omelet.  With hot fudge.  And tequila.


He exercises every day.  “Where’s the pile for Goodwill?” he asks.  “I’ve got at least three pairs of jeans I’ll never wear again, they’re gigantic on me now, like clown pants.”


I’m wearing sweats and a Brandi Carlile t-shirt that was possibly washed last week.  At first I tried to maintain my routine, a shower every other day, blowing out my hair, makeup, casual clothes – stay at home doesn’t have to mean look like a slob.  But after a while, who cares?  Nobody sees me, except Rick.  And he’s too busy exercising and working – he’s a project manager and everybody loves him and I know that because I can hear people on his Zoom calls, “Rick, you’re the best, what would we do without you?” and “Can’t wait until we’re back in the office and what are you doing during stay at home, Rick?  Clearly you’re working out.  Yowza!”  


Yowza.  Who says that?


In my last Zoom call Karyl asked if I’d spilled something on my shirt and I laughed and said, “It must be a shadow,” even though I knew it was grape jelly.  


It’s much better for my hair that I don’t shower every day.  Something about natural oils.  Unless I’m making that up.  “When’s the last time you took a shower?” Rick asked at dinner the other night (salmon, kale salad, two Kit Kat bars – me, when Rick had to take a company call).  “I don’t smell, do I?” I said and he when he didn’t smile, I sniffed under my armpits and thought, oh, maybe he isn’t making a joke.  


Tomorrow I’ll get up and exercise.  Hike with Rick.  And when we come back, we’ll take a shower together.  I can admire his six-pack.  I’ll put on clean clothes and look nice for my Zoom meeting and I won’t let Karyl get under my skin, I’ll be polite and tell her it’s sweet how she brings virtual baked goods for us to admire.  I’ll go back to my Spanish app, take real advantage of stay at home time.  After Spanish I’ll tackle a harder language, like Russian.  I’ll throw away all the junk food in the house and exercise twice a day, no, three times a day.  Soon I’ll be adding my jeans to Rick’s Goodwill pile.  


It’s funny, isn’t it?  Stay at home is the best thing that could have happened to me.  


I should check my Amazon Fresh order first though.  Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme brownie mix.  


Just one box.  




Julia Lee is a writer living in California.


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