Lockdown – Chapter 1
“You know I want you to come see me this weekend, Dre. But it’s not happening, not with all the shit happening right now. My mom came down with the Wuhan virus and I was with her on Sunday. It’s not safe.”
I wanted to tell Wayne that I needed to see him. After all, how many zoom calls and Facetime sessions can you have and still say you’re dating someone you’ve never actually met? Instead, as always, I gave in, “You’re right. God, I hate it, but seeing everything on the news right now, it’s scary.”
“We can still have a zoom date next weekend, Dre. It’s not as good as seeing you in person, but it’s better than nothing. Maybe you can still show me what your bought for our date.”
Just talking on the phone, Wayne couldn’t see my cheeks color. He was my first venture back into the dating world in several years. When my mom died and my son Jax moved back in with me, any semblance of a love life had gone out the window. “Sure, babe. It’s a date. Well, a cyber-date.”
Once we went through our litanies of goodbyes, I killed the call and jiggled the mouse, which let me return to my virtual workstation. The governor had just declared a quarantine a few days before, and I was still working out the kinks in my work-from-home situation.
At least I still had a job, even if it was remote. Another email popped into my inbox. I clicked on it and read about a coworker’s connection with her home printer wasn’t working. “Dammit to hell, Wanda, didn’t you read, you can’t connect your own stupid printer to our network.”
I was nicer in my written response. I always am.
A Skype message popped up on my screen. It was my boss, Alan, asking how many incident reports I had in my queue. Before the virus, he loved micromanaging the help-desk team. And that often involved coming into my cubicle and invading my personal space while looking over my shoulder. I found it creepy. But it wasn’t worth my time to say anything. He was just as bad with the guys on my team. Alan wasn’t a pervert, or if he was, he was an equal opportunity pervert.
Once I responded, I heard a noise in the living room. It sounded like someone playing Call of Duty. The clock in the laptop’s system tray confirmed the end of Jax’s school day. And that meant only another thirty minutes until my shift ended.
The rest of the day dragged by. I was quick to clock out and log off once the clock reached the bottom of the hour. In the living room, I found Jax cross-legged on the floor, smashing at one button or another on the controller as a character on the screen reacted to his every command.
“How was school?”
He craned his neck to see me before turning his attention to his game, “I guess it’s ok. Only about half the class was there today. So, can I skip tomorrow? Maybe tell them the router died.”
“I wish, pumpkin. I’d like a day off too.”
I sat down behind him on the sofa. Jax was still wearing the flannel pajama bottoms from that morning, as well as a long-sleeve knit shirt. I didn’t have the heart to tell him to get dressed when his commute to school was the distance from his bedroom to the living room. I really couldn’t tell him to get dressed when I was sitting behind him, wearing flannel sweats and a tank top.
A splattering of blood splashed across the screen. Jax muttered, “Damn!”
I cleared my throat, “Excuse me.”
He glanced behind and gave me a nervous grin, “But you say worse things when you’re working.”
It wasn’t true. Well, most of the time. But for the most part, I enjoyed my job. While I still wasn’t sure working an IT help-desk job was my ideal job, I was too much of a people pleaser to not try my best. Still, I needed to watch what I said when Jax could hear.
I stuck out my tongue, “Well, at least don’t let me hear you.”
“That’s not fair,” Jax said as he climbed to his feet and headed toward the bathroom down the hallway in our small two-bedroom apartment. As he walked away, I couldn’t help wondering where the years had gone. I had raised him with the help of my parents until I turned eighteen. They raised him for the next few years because I went to college, tried to discover myself, and dropped out. But by the time I was twenty-two, I had pulled my head out of my ass and got serious about life. It was a good thing, too. Dad died of a heart attack shortly after I finished my associate’s degree in computer science. Mom followed him less than a year later. After that, it was just me and Jax; a twenty-three-year-old trying to raise a second grader.
Of course, that was five years ago. Strange how things go when you have someone else depending on you. Every once in a while, I wonder what it would feel like to tell off my boss or a co-worker. But even if Jax wasn’t dependent on me, I got along to get along. It’s part of who I am, for better or worse.
I found the remote and flipped the TV over to cable and sat and watched the news. I was still trying to figure out why Governor Cuomo wasn’t evacuating nursing homes, given how badly they were being hit, when Jax came out of the bathroom. Since the start of the seventh grade, Jax has shot up like a weed, growing at least three inches. Now, he was just a fraction of an inch under five even. By the time he starts the eighth grade in six months, assuming the Wuhan virus doesn’t turn us all into flesh-eating zombies, I expect he’ll be taller than my own five-three.
“Aww, Mom, do we have to watch this, uh, cra-, stuff? It’s just more stuff about why we can’t go outside.”
Jax was right. The news was depressing. Right after listening to the governor announcing additional measures that were sure to keep everyone safe, I flipped the TV back to my son’s game console. He grabbed a couple of controllers and sat next to me, “We can play split-screen. You wanna?”
I thought about dinner and the casserole in the fridge that needed to go in the oven, but I can count on one hand the times my son has invited me to play one of his games. I took the controller and got my ass handed to me by a twelve-year-old.
I re-read the instructions before hitting the send button on my email. I’d already proofed the essay a couple of times. I figured if I missed something, Mrs. Hernandez would find it and mark up the paper. Well, I guess she wouldn’t be marking it up, not like before. She’d use the little comment section in the word processor and let me know what I screwed up.
I looked at the assignments still in my queue and decided they could wait for tomorrow. After six hours of staring at the computer screen, I was ready for a break. Time to stare at the TV screen and play some Call of Duty before dinner.
I had been on the game for a while when I was sneaking up on another player and then my screen went red as someone sniped me, “Damn!”
Oh shit, I turned. Mom was leaning against the entryway to the kitchen where she had been working since before school started. Some of the things she muttered over the past few days of the quarantine made my comment tame in comparison. “That’s not fair!”
I wanted to argue my case, but at that point, my insides rumbled. I could argue the point, I figured, after I went to the bathroom. Mom’s bedroom was at the end of the hall, and mine was just off from the living room. Our bathroom was in between. We’ve lived in the apartment since my nana died when I was seven.
My intestines gurgled again, and I hurried to the toilet where I pulled my pajamas down and sat. As I took a dump, I thought about how much nicer it was doing school at home. Sure, I liked science at school, but over the past few months, I’d come to dread PE. The start of the seventh grade had been bad enough. A lot of the boys in the seventh grade were already sporting some pubes when school began. By the time the virus hit in March, there were only a couple of boys who didn’t have hair number one between their legs. And I was one of them.
The bathroom was nicer at home too. Mom kept it clean, and I didn’t have to worry about any of the bullies knocking the flimsy stall doors open at home. Only Mom, and she knocks.
After finishing and cleaning up, I stood and turned to face the mirror. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror a million times, especially since the start of the seventh grade. My dirty blond hair was already longer than normal when the school shut down. But a couple of more weeks and it’ll touch my collar. Mom liked to tell me how nice it was when it was long.
She keeps telling me how I’m shooting up like a weed. But someone forgot to give the memo to my dick. Now, I’m closer to thirteen than twelve and my little string bean is still waiting for its growth spurt. Standing there looking at myself, you can guess what happened next. I got hard. Of course, that happens a lot now. Without thinking about it, my fingers wrapped around my four skinny inches and I stroked myself until I realized Mom was sitting in the living room and if I didn’t get my butt back in there, she’d come knocking before long.
There was always later. I pulled my pajamas up and washed my hands. Mom was still sitting on the couch. But now she had it on the news. The teachers made sure to talk about current events during school. One had even given me an assignment where I need to explain how the president was putting everyone in danger by not doing more to stop the virus.
I groaned, I just wanted to forget about the world outside our apartment. “Aww, Mom, do we have ta’ watch this stuff?”
Mom gave me one of her award-winning smiles and put it back on the console. Glad to be rid of Lester Gibson, I fired the game back up. I knew Mom probably wanted to get into the kitchen to start dinner, but despite being stuck in the apartment for the past few days, I had spent little time with her. I offered her my second controller, “We can play split-screen. You wanna?”
When I landed in the lobby of the multiplayer match, I glanced at Mom’s screen. She was on the other team. At the beginning of a game, especially if there were a lot of players, I enjoyed finding a good sniper spot. With the large number of players in the war-zone, it wasn’t long before my body count climbed. I even killed Mom twice. But she wasn’t very good, so I didn’t gloat, although I suspected she figured it out.
The second war-zone we played in, we were on the same team. Unfortunately, I came away convinced our team must have been made up of a bunch of twelve-year-olds playing with their moms. We sucked.
Mom set the controller down, “Well, that was fun, Sweetie. I’m going to put a casserole in the oven. Maybe after dinner we can find something on your PlayStation I don’t suck at.”
And we did. After I helped clean up after dinner, Mom and I spent the rest of the evening until bedtime playing Crash Team Racing. She even thought I let her win a few times. But the truth is, I wasn’t giving anything up. She beat me fair and square.
When I turned off the console, Mom, who was already sitting beside me on the sofa, leaned over and gave me a great, big hug. “I love you, sweetie. I don’t know how long this craziness is going to last, but I’m thankful you’re here beside me.”
I flushed as her chest pushed against my side. It wasn’t something I was aware of before, but that was when I realized Mom wasn’t wearing a bra, just that white tank top. I ignored a quick flutter in my stomach, “Love you too, Mom.”
In that moment, having spent the evening on my PS4 with Mom, I was happy for the first time since the quarantine began. I had no idea how much our lives were going to change as the quarantine continued.
Copyright 2021 – Caliboy1991
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