Although COVID-19 is surging within the younger population in my area–those who gather in crowds without wearing a mask at bars, restaurants, and on the lakeshore–most people I pass on the street are abiding by the city’s request to social-distance and wear some sort of face shield. My character, Gerty, has chosen to be socially responsible, too, and I have drawn her in a series of situations as the pandemic has been advancing.
The cat, who is Greek and has taken the name μαυρο, comforts Gerty who spends most of her day at home with her art. She often must give a gentle shove to coax Mavro off her computer keyboard where Gerty struggles to finish her short story. Someday, the two of them will complete the task.
Sometimes, Mavro likes to tease Gerty about masking up before leaving the house.
If you haven’t noticed yet, let me point out that I doodle a lot of these “Gerty” sketches after finishing my morning crossword puzzle. I buy Matt Gaffney’s large-print, easy books of puzzles, about 125 in each volume, and use the blank spots on the clue pages to play with ink, colored pencil, and sometimes just graphite cross-hatching.
Once Gerty leaves home for the outside world, she is delighted, surprised–and wary–about seeing neighbors. Over the months, they would have become near strangers if it weren’t for Zoom meetings and other virtual encounters. Nevertheless, a good walk outside soothes the soul. Mavro likes it, too. You can see he is quite disciplined and doesn’t need a leash. An unusual cat (but, of course!).
One day, realizing she’d overeaten one too many times and was setting out for a brisk walk, she ran into Mrs. Patata and urged her to mask up and social-distance. Mrs. Patata was rather intimidated by Gerty’s message, “Six [feet] apart or six [feet] under.” The latest word on her reaction: Mrs. Patata is sewing cloth masks for all her neighbors.
With all that excess eating, Gerty’s blood pressure climbed, and even her “fat” clothes didn’t fit, so she started a fitness program and is feeling much better now except…
These days, as her hair grows out and her waist shrinks, she feels the absence of good times shared with friends and family. Someday, someday, they will be together again.
Wishing you the same.