Haas door
A B-Movie Birthday
by Anita Haas

I listen at my front door — dare not open it nowadays. Once-friendly neighbors watch for infractions. Leave only for food or medicine. Always alone. Masks, gloves, shopping trolley, distance. Cross over the road. Look away.

Stories of chivatos (tattlers) and “balcony police” abound online.

Has he been caught? Fined? Would they say his errand wasn’t “essential”? Several thousand euros would be a lot to pay for a birthday cake.

Stories of power-hungry cops and soldiers abound online.

At last I hear footsteps on the stairs — elevator buttons not safe. I open the door a crack and super-hubby slips in, panting. “We are living a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers!” I giggle “Yes, The Curse of Covid-19!” “Felicidades, cariño! Your cake!” He presents it to me proudly. “Gracias! My hero! Quick! Mask off! Wash your hands!” I spray alcohol over the parcels, relieved.

Stories of infection and death abound online.

Eyes lined, lashes lengthened, hair curled, careful not to show the roots. Chic top and earrings, track pants and slippers. Our backs shun the front door, the same one we opened wide to welcome last year’s guests. We grin into the phone, me holding the cake and he the selfie-stick. We bet on the number of likes we’ll get. Confined but connected!

Happy birthday stories abound online.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When this whole craziness began, I knew, as a writer, that I wanted to capture the fear, the uncertainty, and the hilarity that we were all experiencing. Madrid, at this point is still one of the hardest hit places, with most residents strictly confined to small apartments. My little birthday celebration and the front door theme helped tie it all together.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anita Haas is a differently abled, Canadian writer and teacher based in Madrid, Spain. She has published books on film, two novelettes, a short story collection, and articles, poems, and fiction in both English and Spanish. Publications where her work has appeared  include Falling Star Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, Tulane Magazine, Literary Brushstrokes, and Adelaide Magazine. She spends her free time enjoying tapas, flamenco, and B-movies with her husband and two cats.