The best way to travel during quarantine is through a book.
Or at least that’s what I’ve realized in the last five months.
Five months — has it really been that long since the pandemic shook this country to its very core and shut down life as we know it?
What once was ceased to exist. I traded in late night drinks and dancing at a neon bright bar for a cozy corner in my room with tea in one hand and my latest read in the other.
After a while, I noticed that I would read books that were out of this world.
Stories that would never, could never happen here, jumped off the page and into my imagination.
I found myself retreating to these parallel universes where people could hug and hang out without worrying about contracting coronavirus.
Their biggest worries were whether their vampire boyfriend wanted to kiss or kill them.
The latest book I’m reading had me on the edge of my seat.
Right now, I’m transported to modern-day New York City.
“The Regrets,” by Amy Bonnaffons follows Thomas as he navigates through New York in a purgatorous state.
Thomas has died and then awakens after a sort of bureaucratic error. He is sent back to Earth for 90 days while “The Office” sorts through the paperwork that was his life.
While back on Earth, he meets Rachel. Her red lips and the fact that they live in The Big Apple signify that she is sort of a forbidden fruit. And although The Office strongly discourage relationships, he can’t seem to stay away from her.
The switch of perspectives of Thomas and Rachel was like night and day, and in fact separate stories, which helped to heighten the sort of anxious incorporeality of the novel.
I’m not sure what brought me to this book, but I’m glad I got to it.
When I flipped through the pages of the book, I wasn’t lounging on my bed or sitting at my office desk during lunch, I was in New York. I was walking down the street with Thomas or listening to Rachel’s existential crisis.
The prose was strung together like an intricately woven hand basket.
It was strange, but strange can be good. At least when you’re trying to escape the strangeness that is the pandemic.
It was a book about mid-20 something’s that are just trying to find their way in a confusing world. In this particular instance... very confusing.
It’s about social isolation and connectivity and choices one makes and, of course, regrets. A story about life, love and letting go.
Right now, I’m having a hard time accepting the reality we’re stuck in.
So, if you’re like me, try cracking open the spine of a new book, perhaps even “The Regrets.”
What have you got to lose?
Contact Averil Gleason at email@example.com.