The day before isolation, I celebrate my birthday, unwed, the first of its kind in my adult life, my divorce from a great man with whom I shared an OK eleven years, finalized by way of a $250 internet divorce just a month earlier. My biggest concern on the day I enter my mid-thirties is how much weight I might gain during the quarantine and vow to myself not to let go of my “divorce cheekbones.”
In isolation, I realize a new breed of loneliness. In marriage, I was always lonely, but never alone. In divorce, I was technically alone, but never lonely, keeping on hand a constant coterie of handsome men, both romantic and platonic. In isolation, I am alone and I am lonely and I disengage frequently with the technologies that might make me less so.
In isolation, I am trapped but I am feral. I roast chickens covered in Hidden Valley Ranch powder and eat them with my fingers over the stove, pairing them with expensive, well rested wine - greasy fingers marring the green glass as I drink it straight from the bottle. In isolation, a gust of wind hitting my neck on a morning walk feels pornographic, a hot shower, salacious, the chaos of my own imagination, carnal. A problematic musician I was sleeping with early in my separation once told me that Jewish girls have a vast and underappreciated eroticism to them. I felt trapped by the comment then, but in isolation, I am empowered by it. In isolation, I want to touch and be touched.
In isolation, my body is my comrade and though I’ve found her insulting since birth, I begin to enjoy the company of the lusty old broad. Where she was once too round, taking up too much space without providing enough substance, she is now Rubenesque, stoically soft in the face of the end of the world. I dance with her, feed her, give her room to breathe. In isolation, she is creamy and supple and strong and if history is any indicator, the rest of the world will desire her as much as I do when all of this is over.
In isolation, I give myself permission to look in the mirror and see My Face, void of makeup and full of worry, but protected from pollution, ill-advised cigarettes and late nights on the dance floor. To my shock, but not quite chagrin, My Face is now formally middle aged. Cheekbones protruding above sunken cheeks. Lips, eternally pouty at rest, slowly showing the consequences of my overindulgent twenties. Eyes, dark and broody and heavy lidded to a fault, now supported by bags, darker, broodier and heavier. My benign yet anxiety ridden life glows through My Face. Today I find My Face beguiling. My Face is something I never stopped to consider when I let the boys who think I am only pretty enough to text after midnight consider it first.
In isolation, I am morphing.
In isolation, I am accepting.
In the quiet of isolation, I am seducing the entire world.