Cassie gazed at the motionless creature, in no hurry to catch his prey. For the first time she felt a pang of guilt; there was no escape for the crickets, who also sat motionless, enjoying the humid warmth of this new luxurious environment. They were blissfully unaware of their fate, no different from spring lambs gambolling in the fields waiting to be eaten by humans. She put aside her guilt and laughed to herself; with all restaurants closed because of the virus, would those lambs be saved from the abattoir? A joke to share later with James.
Suddenly the gecko moved, playing fair, only snatching the cricket when it jumped. It was the most eventful time of the day in the vivarium; the other gecko, realising what she was missing, was roused into action. Soon they would be resting after their lunch; life was simple and they were content, or she assumed they were. Since being imprisoned herself, Cassie wasn’t so sure, but at least the geckos knew nothing else.
Week four of quarantine, isolation, lockdown; whatever you liked to call it she knew she had no cause to complain about her lot compared with others. She understood the government’s reasoning now, still had her job, didn’t have to share her precious living space and had the luxury of a garden and a daily bike ride.
The garden was an unexpected blessing, mowing and weeding had revealed all sorts of plants springing up; it had been a jungle when she bought the house and her intention had been to have it all flattened once the work inside the house was finished. A pleasant patio with a few feature plants in pots no longer seemed a good idea. Her aunt would have been amazed at her sudden interest in gardening. She took photos of emerging plants on her phone then sent them to James so his mother could identify them; he wanted to make sure his mother’s mind was stimulated during her isolation, so she didn’t end up with dementia.
Later on, when she had logged off from work, Cassie sat with a cup of coffee, ready to Facetime James.
‘I’ve seen a robin in the garden, if my team at work could see me, getting excited about a bird…’
‘I can beat that,’ said James ‘I saw our robin having a bath, I couldn’t take a picture, if I opened the back door he would have flown away.’
‘I think I heard mine singing, but it sounded too strong for such a tiny bird… that’s one thing I’ll miss when we get back to normal, peace and quiet so you can hear nature.’
That wouldn’t be all Cassie missed; would James still want to chat every day, every evening once he was free to get out of his mother’s house and get a place of his own, back to work, going out. Would they meet up? She wasn’t even sure she wanted to meet up for real. Her iPad screen was like a vivarium and James her pet man, all the fun of flirting and chatting without the pitfalls of a relationship, having a chap getting his feet under your table and not going. Would she tell him about Giles, he had not told her anything about the divorced wife, not that there was anything much to tell about Giles, no drama, mostly sheer boredom. Perhaps Giles’ greatest contribution to her life had been to unknowingly encourage her to go for promotion; had he realised she had opted for the transfer as a tactful way of slipping out of his life, or rather slipping him out of her life…
Cassie sat back and drained her coffee mug, paying attention to what James was saying now. The way things were going with this dreadful Covid 19, it would be a while before anyone got back to normal and she didn’t really mind.