For an introverted young woman like myself, the solitude I’ve maintained during Covid-19 has been somewhat of a dream come true. However, it’s been anything but paradise for the she-demon who lives underneath my bed.
Over the past four years, while I was in college, she’d had free reign over my bedroom and closet, save a couple of weeks each year when I’d come home to visit. Even during high school, I was gone at least 8 hours every day, allowing her a good daily dose of me-time so she could freshen up in my bathroom, steal hot Cheetos from the kitchen, and maybe even terrorize some of the neighbor’s kids.
But everything changed on March 16th when I was sent home from college due to rising Covid cases. On that day, her world was shattered. Her way of life, her bladder, and her life itself were in danger.
On that day, I locked myself in my childhood bedroom, never to leave again. The peace she once knew was all but shattered.
Instead of the freedom she once enjoyed, now she is forced to watch me bleach-dye black t-shirts, inundate myself with iced coffee, and try to learn how to knit for the third time this week.
With each passing day, her resolve grows weaker. She begins to wonder if the girl above will once again leave her in peace. And what terrible thing could have inspired her newfound reclusive state?
So, there she sits, nestled in between old socks and high school textbooks, waiting for me to leave the room… even for a moment… so that she can finally use the bathroom, steal a snack, stretch her legs… waiting for a moment that will never arrive… she wonders how much longer she can continue on in this state… Sometimes at night, I hear her muttering from underneath the bed…On this night, I listened for the very first time,
“It’s been months now,” she says to herself, her voice shaking with desperation, “the girl must have to leave at some point… she must have some purpose in this world….”
When she says this, I laugh.
I’m not going anywhere.
I see her grey hand shaking with anticipation. Yearning for relief that she will never see.
“Just for a moment?” She pleads. “I haven’t peed since February. That sort of thing is dangerous, even for a demon like me!”
I shake my head in pity.
“Never,” I say, just as she begins to reply.
“But, you must! I have taken the demon oath never to relieve myself before human eyes!” She makes a final, defeated attempt. It’s no match for my resolve.
“No.” I reply solemnly. “I have everything I need here. I will be married in this room, my children will be born in this room, I will raise a family and start an online quilting business from this room, and I will die in this room, after which it will be preserved as a mausoleum, memorializing my commitment to a life of inaction. I will never leave this room.”
She grows silent, in pained acceptance of her fate.
I peer underneath the bed to see if I can catch one last glimpse of her face, but she has perished. Taken by a ruthless urinary tract infection.
My lifestyle solitude and passive inaction have claimed another life.