It was Lenna’s eighth day in the quarantine when she finally woke up earlier than eleven.
Her room was almost completely white, she lay on a white bed and she was covered in white sheets, she had a white bedside table and a white closet on the other side of the room.
She stayed in bed for a while, stretching.
It took a while for her eyelids to fully open, and another while for her to finally get up out of bed.
Lenna had stopped brushing her hair in the morning, changing before breakfast and doing other trivial things after just a few days there. Most of the others didn’t do the same, it was just her, Hyde and George that had given up on these things.
When she eventually made it to the main room, she saw Darlina and Aura were sitting at the dining room table.
They both fell silent.
‘Morning,’ Lenna said as she lumbered over and poured cereal for herself.
‘Good morning,’ Aura said.
Aura and Darlina kept quiet.
‘What’s wrong?’ Lenna asked.
Aura sighed, ‘George is dead.’
This news wasn’t shocking or any use to her, but it would be rude not to overreact.
‘Oh,’ she said with wide eyes, as if his death would change her whole life in any way, or even change her morning in any way.
Lenna had gotten used to the deaths. She was a doctor before she got sick, so death was a normal part of her life even before Ignecorpos, but now she was here, it barely fazed her. It was just what was scheduled to happen, unavoidable, inescapable. There was nothing she could do this time.
‘That’s terrible,’ She said, she used to put so much effort into her reactions to the deaths, but lately, she had stopped caring so much, it was too much effort and she was growing more and more tired every day.
Lenna wondered whose turn it was to take care of George’s body. She had never done it before, as she had only gone through three deaths in the quarantine so far.
The rest of breakfast was just silent eating. This had happened after Mary’s death as well. Just quiet thinking about who could be next.
Lenna liked it this way, there was no need to talk, so why fill up the silence with things that nobody cared about?
It stayed silent until Aura, of course, ruined it. Aura always felt the need to talk.
Lenna didn’t even bother trying to join the lifeless conversation she had started, it didn’t need her input.
Thankfully, Noel joined them a few minutes into the conversation, ‘Morning!’
Noel was definitely one of Lenna’s favorite out of everyone in the quarantine. Young, hopeful, and, somehow, happy.
‘Good morning,’ Aura said.
‘Morning,’ Lenna said.
He sat facing Darlina, next to Lenna.
‘George died,’ Lenna said to him.
He gave the same reaction as Lenna had given, except he was better at pretending, ‘Oh. Oh my Gosh, how long had he been in the quarantine for?’
‘I think it was forty-three days, in the end, was it?’ Aura turned to Darlina for confirmation, who nodded.
Forty-three days after being put here was quite normal. Some people made it to forty-five or even higher, but it was usually the fortieth day that things started to go downhill. Even more downhill than they had definitely already been going.
Lenna had finished eating, she went to the storage room where, for some reason, the dishwasher was, to put her bowl and spoon away.
Darlina followed her, she had probably been waiting for someone to leave with so she wouldn’t seem rude when she did the same.
They didn’t really talk to each other, which Darlina was most likely thankful for.
Lenna made her way to the lounge, she sat next to one of the large computers on the scuffed, white desk.
She had finally received messages. One from Mark, and one from Sarah.
We all miss you so much. We really can’t wait until a cure is found and we can see you again!
It almost felt as though Sarah had betrayed her. Lenna wished that for once people would stop pretending that there was hope. She just wanted to have an honest conversation with her best friend again.
She didn’t know what to answer Sarah’s email with, what did Sarah even want to hear?
She decided to leave it and open Mark’s email.
I miss you so much. The kids do too.
it’s difficult without you, but we can usually handle it. Sarah’s coming in and babysitting when she can like you asked. Finn is also being really helpful.
I don’t know what to tell the kids anymore, they ask for you every day.
I miss you so much. Doctors are working on a cure every day. The whole world is doing all they can for you. You’re going to get out in time.
I love you, I miss you.
P.s. attached are a few photos of the girls like you asked :)
Lenna wasn’t sure if she was ready to see Lydia and Leia again. She had done a good job of not thinking about her life before the quarantine, but that email made it all come back. Mark and her dancing on the night of their anniversary. Sarah and her trying not to laugh at two in the morning at work. The smiles Mark and she shared when one of the kids would say something silly. Mark and Lenna’s first new years kiss of being married. Finn, Sarah, Mark and her talking and laughing for hours before the kids. Helping Leia and Lydia decorate the Christmas tree. Holding Lydia up to put the star on the top. Her wedding day. Leia’s first day of school, Lydia’s first day of school. Comparing pictures of young Lenna and Leia now.
The memories came in no order, it was as if her life was flashing before her eyes, like she had died.
She would never see her children again.
She would never see Mark again.
She would never live in that world again.
She had to look at the pictures.
The first, of her two girls with ice cream cones in their hands, made Lenna realize her mistake.
She kept looking.
Leia, of course, had her ice cream dripping down the cone while Lydia’s was in perfect form. Leia was looking to the side, probably distracted by a dog or something. They were both smiling though, squinting as well because they were in the sun.
Then there was a picture with all of them, Lenna, Mark, Lydia and Leia at the beach, the same day.
She turned the computer off without responding to Mark’s email.
Thank you for reading
Constructive criticism is welcome