Lisa flipped the eggs over on her beat-up cast iron skillet. She had become accustomed to cooking meals for one since the state ordered a shelter-in-place two months ago.
She closed her eyes and inhaled as the cracked pepper emanated through her tiny kitchen.
She imagined Craig, the grocery store clerk, in the kitchen with her, making small talk. Craig was the only human face she had seen since the whole community locked themselves in their homes. She and Craig didn’t conversate or anything. Their only interaction was the hand off of a credit card as she stood behind a rope, six feet between them.
But she looked forward to his warm smile. His tired eyes. His messed up hair.
She couldn’t judge his age from six feet away but imagined he was in his 30s, easily 10 years younger than her. In normal life, it would be a weird crush.
Before the quarantine, she never really dated much. Her three cats kept her swell enough company. She was an only child and quite accustomed to living and entertaining herself alone.
She practiced social distancing long before it was mandated by the government.
She had accepted that a romantic relationship was unlikely in the cards for her.
And yet. Suddenly. In such an odd time. She couldn’t wipe this stranger, with “Craig” stenciled on his name tag, out of her mind. Craig.
She plotted how things would be different for her when this was all over. She vowed to finally put herself out there. Maybe even go to a bar. Or try online dating.
She knew it wouldn’t be Craig, specifically, but it didn’t matter. She could find her Craig.
A Craig to sit and make small talk while she cooked her eggs.
A Craig who wasn’t allergic to cats.
A Craig who, like the grocery store cashier, was brave, in whatever mundane way that might translate to normal life when this was all over.
She poured the eggs on a plate and sat down on her frail, wooden chair, shoo’ing her cat off the table. Tomorrow was Thursday.
Thursday morning arrived, and the sun rose through her dusty blinds. Lisa sat up, her heart pounding. She showered, a long one this morning. She applied full make up. Straightened her hair. Brushed her teeth. Extra mouthwash. Put on a dress.
It was grocery day.
She jaunted out the door, a new wave of life swelling through her.
The store was busy, but everyone kept their distance. The shelves were picked over, so she grabbed what she could from her elderly neighbor’s lists.
Craig’s line was the longest, each person six feet from the next in line. But she picked that line anyway.
Twenty minutes later, it was her turn. Her heart pounded. She felt light-headed. Her hand extended. Craig’s brown eyes locked with hers for a split second. She blushed. She smiled warmly. She took the card back.
“Thank you,” Craig said, in a soothing baritone voice.
She grabbed the groceries and pranced out of the store, one hand holding the bags, the other on her heart.
She couldn’t wait until next Thursday.