Nature Abhors a Vacuum 4

Weeks went by but the pandemic was still in full force. Beaches in California would be open but health officials urged social distancing and wearing masks. Although she loved the outdoors, Pru decided it would be wise to remain inside. School was over and she awaited her diploma in the mail. She and her friends were disappointed that they could not walk for graduation, but the sacrifice was worth not getting exposed to COVID-19.

Prudence’s days at home felt long. Her parents were at work every day, and she filled her hours meditating, practicing yoga, and surfing the Internet. As of late, she spent far more time online and much less practicing self-care. She received the jewelry-making supplies but the packages were unopened as it was too much of an effort to make something, much less wear any new jewelry.

She fell into a stultifying routine of Krispy Kremes and coffee every morning. She didn’t want to meditate or exercise when she had just eaten. So she turned to the Internet, checking out new websites as well as her favorites. Prudence was on YouTube several hours a day, looking at silly stories about badly behaving in-laws, women stealing their friends’ husbands, and “Whatever Happened to Brendan Fraser?” or the latest actor the armchair critics want to bully. She watched music videos and laughed at the crazy fashions performers wore in the 1980s. Sometimes she watched old episodes of TV shows like the original Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. She also watched videos about making videos! 

One morning, just as Pru had finished her doughnut and coffee run, she got a call from Ellowyne. “Hey, girl,” Ellowyne said. “Do you have time to talk?”

“Sure,” Pru answered. “What’s up?”

“Well, no one has heard from you for a few days and we’re wondering how you are. We haven’t seen you at any of our Zoom meetings or FaceTime.”

“You’re doing the breakfast Zoom meetings? Rufus, too?”

“Sometimes he participates. And sometimes he sleeps in! But he’s doing better, making progress with his grief. He also signed up for vaccine trials. He said that he’ll do anything he can to stop the spread of coronavirus.” 

Prudence asked, “Are you still making masks?”

“Actually, I’m selling them as quickly as I make them. I need to send you, Amber, and Lizette some new masks,” Ellowyne replied. “So what are you doing these days?”

Prudence hesitated a bit before answering. She was embarrassed to admit she spent her time watching mindless videos online. So she stretched the truth a little and said she was going to start a blog about having the best life despite the pandemic.

“That sounds great,” Ellowyne exclaimed. “Please send me a link when you publish it! And I’m sure everyone else will want to read it, too. Hey, what do you think about Lawrence? We met him in person when he and Lizette stopped over with food right after Rufus’ folks died. We couldn’t talk much to him—we were all wearing masks and maintaining social distance—but he seems nice.”

Ugh. Prudence was happy for Lizette but her new romance made Pru feel even more alone. Everyone was pairing up: Ellowyne and Rufus. Lizette and Lawrence. What next, Amber and Penn?

Instead of sharing how she felt, Pru said, “I am so happy for everyone.” Tears welled up in her eyes so she decided to end the conversation. “Oh, it’s getting close to noon. I need to let you go. It’s good to talk to you, Ellowyne.”

When the call was over, Prudence turned back to her laptop to watch YouTube.

To be continued…

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