She is a writer working from home at the height of the pandemic in New York, and trying to outpace her past in a walled garden that is one of the few outlets for her anxiety. He is a grocery delivery man on the frontlines. They communicate only through the glass storm door of her house.
But is it the doorway to a real connection or merely an entrée to her imagination? Call it love in the time of corona.
She had made it, so much so that she could have a piece of Park Slope. She wasn’t about to give that up for a virus. And so, complete isolation meant only a walk in the walled garden. And the grocery delivery service.
At first, it seemed a luxury. She had always liked to pick out produce herself. And she worried that perhaps she was exploiting someone who couldn’t work from home. But then, that person had to earn a living, didn’t he or she? Maybe by not ordering the groceries, she was harming rather than helping society. All this social consciousness was becoming wearing, so she decided to set it aside and take the plunge. She could always go back to doing a kamikaze run to the local store, mask and gloves firmly in place.
The first day, she waited and waited for the sound of the truck. She had a tip for the deliveryman -- she was sure it wouldn’t be a woman -- but didn’t want to tape the envelope to the outside of the storm door that she was never so grateful for until she saw the deliveryman approach it with the bag. Then once he left, she would bring the bag into the hall, removing only the perishables, cleaning them off and putting them in the refrigerator. The rest would wait till the next day.
The deliveryman arrived just before five P.M. He was a bit younger than she. It was hard to tell as he wore a hoodie, sunglasses, a mask and gloves. Indeed, he could’ve been the Unabomber. Remember how the wanted poster made the Unabomber so handsome with that movie star stubble sprinkling chiseled features? And then it turned out that the real Unabomber looked like a disheveled Kenneth Branagh, so disappointing. But she was getting distracted. The deliveryman was giving her a big thumbs up for the tip and saying something she could make out through the glass and the mask: “Have a good evening. Stay safe.”
“You, too,” she said. “See you next week.”