I remember the rumors right before Christmas when there was talk of the Coronavirus in Wuhan. Even then I was already imagining the nightmare. Of course, back then I was so busy with Christmas parties and holiday cakes. Really, it was the best of times even if I knew it might be coming. Only, I kept thinking it couldn't. It wouldn't.
I had found a kitten at the cafe, outback. Even then Maxie was telling me, I was really good at saving lives. I knew he was kidding.
He has this old Australian sheepdog. I'm not sure I like her all that much, or maybe she doesn't like me. Seriously, who names a female dog MoJo? I thought all this time she was a he. Especially, the way she was around me. But she got sick in January and I'd never seen Maxie so sad about his oldest companion. He'd raised her since she was a pup. Trained her too. Of course, I don't think she knows a thing about sheep.
I thought it was sweet. Of course, he was ready to spend a fortune on her, and there were a few days I was so certain she might not make it. I know his folks wanted him to put her down, but he wouldn't hear of it.
Can't say I loved the kitten as much. She made me sneeze so, I couldn't even keep her. I really wanted a cat around. It was a bit lonely then at the cottage. I really could see me and little Tess have so much fun together. But she was terrible to sleep with and all those allergies didn't help either.
Finally, MoJo was on the mend and I sent Tess to stay with a coworker. Her kids love that furbaby. Still, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, what if that virus does make it here? Then what?
February came, more cases were found everywhere and the deaths. I never imagined we would just keep going as if it really wasn't a bother, and yet everyone knew that it was. And I felt even more alone. Except for Maxie.
Oh, he came one morning with Mojo and his things. It was weeks before lockdown, but it was as if he'd already gotten the memo, long before the rest.
"You work as long as you can making those cakes," he said. "I'll hold down the fort here." He brought his laptop. He said he could work from home. "Just tell me where to put my things."
I wanted to scold him, but I couldn't. It was exactly what I wanted.