"Your voice sounds like it's sunny"
how to fall in love during a global pandemic
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March 16, 2020 - Quarantine Day 1
14:06 - Samuél leaves Augusta an audio message while walking along the Canal Saint Martin:
“Walking out in the streets and definitely a big shift today. Everyone’s got masks on, it’s like they first—just read the news. I see people packing cars. There’s a little girl dancing. Life goes on! Kind of.”
14:08 - Augusta: Is the weather nice? Your voice sounds like it’s sunny.
20:41 - Samuél: France just announced a 15-day quarantine, except for going to pharmacies, groceries, and jogging. I'm going to be out all day in workout clothes.
20:52 – Augusta: the blow-up mattress my friend lent me is actually the most high-tech thing in here and is definitely fancier (sorry) than your couch-bed:
22:02 - Samuél: The light is incredible. I'll shamelessly say that it seems so far away and so desirable right now.
22:07 - Augusta: That’s because it is so far away, Samuél. I’ll shamelessly say I hope you get to see it for real sometime. The light, I mean. Of course.
March 17, Quarantine Day 2
19:27 - Samuél: I'm making lentil bolognaise and Aaron [my twin brother who spent the first month of quarantine in my apartment] is hanging laundry, and my apartment may as well be a hovel with an abnormal number of instruments in it.
19:28 - Augusta: Is there a family hiding under the floorboards you are unaware of?
19:28 - Samuél: Actually, there's a Moroccan family sharing a wall, with like 3 too many people in their room, and they wash their feet in the sink in the hallway toilet. That's gotta count for something.
19:29 - Augusta: You lie. For real?
19:29 - Samuél: Oh yeah. After four years I’ve gotten used to it. They used to cook on a hot plate out on the landing and hang their laundry on the stairwell banister. At least they stay INSANELY quiet and to themselves. It's gotta be tough.
There are four grown men confined to a space half the size of my 20m2 apartment. They have a secondary room too with a bed in it, which they use (from what I can tell) to host family members. Once I saw an elderly woman dabbing at another elderly man's forehead. He was convalescing in the bed. I haven’t seen him or his caretaker since.
19:31 - Augusta: They’re lucky they picked the attic room next to the sentimental young writer.
00:36 - Augusta leaves Samuél a voice message while walking her dog, a jackrussell terrier, through the leafy Fontainebleau neighborhood of New Orleans.
00:38 - Samuél: Thanks for that voice message. It's almost like you're on the other side of a plastic cup with a string tied to it.
00:41 - Augusta: You’re welcome. It does actually sound like I was talking into a plastic cup. I think the phone was too close to my mouth. I liked your voice message a lot, too. A real human voice. I’ve been talking to my dog all day asking his opinions but he just whines at me and then falls asleep on my lap.
00:42 - Samuél: Let's talk in real life voices tomorrow.
00:43 - Augusta: Deal.
Journal Entry, March 18, 2020
Day 3 of the quarantine and today I got out of the house after spending 48 hours inside the apartment. Quarantine doesn’t mean solitary confinement. This is a good thing to remember. The sun shone and the sky was blue and the clouds were wispy.
Each night at 8pm, France and its people open their windows and applaud the medical professionals, doctors and nurses who are saving many lives and saying goodbye to many others, as far as the news says. At 8pm this evening, all of the windows in the six-floor social housing unit across the street from me opened up, and people began to cheer and clap and sing.
Whilst the applause was still reverberating off the cold winter concrete, I got a text from my friend Blaire, who recently moved to Paris from New Orleans. She told me to go to the window and look down below, where she was standing with her partner, Marc, some sixty-feet below.