To my pets,
We’ve lived together in this same apartment for eight years—that’s four heartbeats, 14 legs, and a lot of fur all under one roof. Upon reflection, I didn’t realize how much I loved you until the quarantine hit.
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how it was going to be, the four of us together, day in and day out, in this modest one-bedroom apartment for weeks on end. But the truth is, you made quarantine bearable and because of you, my lockdown has been a relatively peaceful experience. If it hadn’t been for you, I would have suffered a lot more. With you, it is more like living in a Disney movie.
You sleep outside my bedroom, and I’ve come to look forward to that moment each morning when I open the door, and there you are, all crowded around to greet me. To my dog Andromeda, I like the way you nip at my heels as a morning greeting, like I am a sheep, and you are herding me into the kitchen. And to my cats, you are named Milo and Emerson, but I think of you as Thing 1 and Thing 2 because you really are like Dr. Seuss characters. It is funny how you match even though you aren’t brothers, and I like how you lead our way into the kitchen, like kitty royalty.
Andromeda, you became my golden ticket to freedom of movement during the lockdown. You probably noticed I’ve never been more diligent with your walking schedule, and we covered a lot of ground this quarantine, exploring parts of the city I’ve ignored for eight years. You even tolerated it when I got organized and downloaded a walking app so we’d walk at least five kilometers a day. I told myself I was doing it for you, but we both know you are a couch potato. I was doing it for me. Thanks for going along with it.
To all three of you, I am sure you noticed my sleep schedule changed. I’m always a night owl but with the quarantine, I rarely go to bed before 2:00 or 3:00 am. Without traffic or pedestrians, it has become eerily quiet at night during the lockdown, but I never feel lonely. It is oddly comforting to see you all lined up on the sofa, curled into little balls, snoring softly. It feels nice to be surrounded by other living beings. I have, at moments, wondered what it would be like to be in an empty house, but I will never know because I have the three of you.
Eating is something we all look forward to, and now we do it together as a household. You were probably surprised when I started intermittent fasting and made your meals line up with my eating schedule. We had been so relaxed before but without restaurants and dinner parties to go to, following a schedule seemed like a safer bet. I couldn’t have us snacking all day long. Now we all eat at noon and around 9:00 pm together every day. And Milo, because of your diabetes, I’ve been cooking for you for over a year, but you probably noticed I’ve added some new things to your chicken-mash-vegetables, vitamins, even some spices. With all this time at home, I’ve focused more on recipes, including yours. Don’t worry—even when quarantine ends I’ll keep adding a little avocado to your dinner.
Living together 24-7 has had its challenges, and we’ve all had to make some adjustments. I bought a children’s barrier to keep you, Andromeda, out of my yoga space. I know you don’t mean to cause trouble, but you shed and track things all over the house. It is easier to have “your space” and “my space.” I hope you understand. And all three of you, I’m sorry that you get banished from the living area when I teach online yoga. It is just too distracting to have you walking all over. Andromeda, I think you’ve gotten used to your “time-outs” in the bathroom. And to the boys, you need to get some fresh air on the roof. The classes only last an hour anyway, and I think it is good for us all to have some time alone.
They say the lockdown here in Greece will start to relax soon. It won’t happen overnight, but I’ll go back to my busy schedule that takes me outside the house: beach volleyball lessons, leading yoga classes, dinners with my friends, meetings with my business associates. You know how it is.
But before all that starts again, I want to say thank you.
Going into quarantine in the middle of March was a shock, like falling suddenly from a five-story building. But you three were like a giant trampoline at the bottom. Because of you, the impact wasn’t scary, and the aftermath was mild. I won’t say it was fun, but it wasn’t bad either. I owe you one.
Your devoted owner,