“Hello?” came a raspy, feeble voice.

“Maga?” I asked.

“Uh…yes…is this Abby?”

“Yes, hi!! Did I wake you?”

“No. No, I was just doing a puzzle in the paper.”

“That sounds fun.”

“I suppose. What did you do today?”

“Let’s see. I worked. Oh! I went to the library! First time since March. It was very exciting.”

“I suppose it would be.”

“It’s all very interesting,” I said and proceeded to very slowly lay it out for her. “You put in a request for a book. They pull it off the shelf for you. Wrap it up. And then put it on a table with your name on it. And then I go and pick it up without having to interact with anyone to stay safe from germs.”

“Staying safe is important. When are you coming to visit me?”

“As soon as I’m able to.”

“How far are you from me?”

“It’s about a 4.5 hour plane ride.”

“Oh. That’s far.”

“It never seemed so far until they took the planes away!”

Maga chuckled weakly. “I guess you’re right. When are you coming to visit me?”

“I’m keeping a close eye on the planes. As soon as I’m allowed to visit, I promise.”

“I’ll keep watch and let’s stay in touch about visits. Did you go to work yesterday?”

“I worked from my house, yes, both yesterday and today. My office is closed until January!”

“I don’t understand anything these days.”

“You and me both, Maga.”

“What do you do for work?”

“I work with books.”


“Novels. Books. Reading. Publishing.”

She sort of mumbled, “Publishing.”

“Do you like books, Maga?” I asked.

“Oh, yes. They’re good things to have and to read.”

“Did you have a favorite book when you were younger?”

“Yes. The Heidi books. Did you read them?”

“I don’t think I have, no. I bet my mom and Aunt J have, though.”

“They were good for then when I was younger… when are you coming to visit me?”

“As soon as the planes stop being broken.”

That got a proper laugh. “That’s exactly right,” Maga said. “Well said.”

Dark humor is the only way to get through these days, it seems.

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