“Nothing else matters but this.”

I’m watching television late at night with my wife laying close besides me, sharing pillows under our covers by the glow of that bedroom screen.

Creeping through these shutters flows a breeze within our windows, ushering traces of gentle echoes from a world now growing dark.

I’m thinking about what it’s like – being out there among the silence, the whispers of evening gusts dragging paper bags down my street.

Today, I’m lost in dreaming, wandering places where I’m not – believing there is freedom beyond memories called escape.

A show plays as we fall asleep. It’s a classic from when we were kids. A comedy featuring segments, displaying silly scenes on loop.

My eyes are almost closed.

It’s now 1995.

Mom takes me to see a movie every Friday after school.

She buys me a burger and fries. There is a toy inside each package – a doll from the films we attended.

I still have them to this day.

  1. I wake up dreading morning.

Sunlight finds me withering slowly – not outside, but where it counts.

I’m staring at another game, thinking someday I might learn answers at the other end of this small controller always drenched from nervous sweat.

In 1995, toys were reasons for adventure. I’d imagine I was a hero chasing quests wherever I went.

Perhaps it was just the yard. Somehow spaces felt much bigger.

Everything had potential current fears just seem to crush.

That’s how I know it’s gone – what was perfect and always special. I can’t leave my house from worry or the fact this world will end.

I’m repeating the same dawn twice.

No, three times.

Soon, forever.

My anger keeps me wishing that tomorrow things can change.

Will I ever see the sea shore where I spent my summers young?

Again, without exposure or concern my life should cease?

I want my wife to see one last time before this virus lays true waste to every virtue even God himself has lost.

Once more, she should enjoy what was oddly taken for granted – simple moments sharing dinner amid friends whose laughter warms.

Back in 1995, I am walking near the ocean. My father clasps my fingers making sure I will not fall.

I fear I may have broken as I cycle through these minutes, these empty sighs of waiting stealing breaths I’m sure are weak.

The TV flashes dimly. It’s another dusk together.

She’s smiling while she holds me. And it all makes so much sense.

I’d endure this pain again. Not for me, but gaining meaning.

Finding reasons she has given choosing me forever as hers.

We might never accept our present.

I don’t think it’s safe exploring.

2020 I’d gotten married. 1995 be damned.

“Nothing else matters but this.”

I miss comforts surely fleeting.

But childhood is found between us.

Stuck at home is fine by me.

  • J. Pigno

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