The Isolation Journals sends a daily prompt for thirty days, starting April 1, to help writers get creative amid the COVID-19 pandemic. You can sign up for this project here.
Today’s prompt: The view from a window.
Every day, I prepare myself for 4:35 by applying sunscreen. Like everyone else at home, I’ve rested in my bedroom: west of the house, my bed facing the window. Siestas are simply sweat-fests.
There’s nothing much to see from my bedroom window. A wall, now gray, made of hollow blocks still outlined by cement. Barbed wire formed into circles with added security from glass shards underneath. Spiky hanging plants that replaced the heart-shaped vines from an ex-lover. They almost met the empty pot that’s been left idle for months.
And at 4:35, the sun hits my face as I lay in bed. There’s nothing much to see outside my bedroom window, so I spend the afternoon wanting to write a script but never really picking up a pen. I have an obsession with symbols and the mundane, I realize. I think about a meet-cute, push/pull—and then I abandon the idea while simultaneously obsessing over it. I think about pitching it, but I don’t.
Maybe there’s nothing much to see in my eyes. A stare, now empty, pretending to be more awake than any man on a mission. Glasses, black, two connected rectangles, much like every window in this household.
Today doesn’t remind me about 4:35. I have two layers of curtains hovering over the view. Beside me is my sister, squealing over an Asian TV show. Usually, she’d be isolated in the room next to mine, but it lacked an aircon.
In a few moments, my mom knocks for afternoon snacks. The oven dings. The coffeemaker gurgles for water. We take a chair and sit by the east-side glass door. From there, the walls are brown and red, designed as illusory tiles of wood. A collection of Bromeliads lines the landscape. I stare at a spot of car oil on the floor. We talk over two angry Hiligaynon voices coming from a portable radio.
Every afternoon, over a cup of coffee and freshly-cooked snacks, a black, antennaed rectangle box reminds us life—for everyone—is not like this.