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A Reflection on 2020
Marc Rappaport

People talk about how 2020 was terrible.  Not for me.  2020 might be my best year ever.  I got to do my favorite things, like sleep as much as I want and eat more (way more) and I saw my friends (the ones in my pod) all the time.  


Can’t complain about that, right?  I mean, I think I’ve always been pretty social and yes, I do appreciate my solitary time, but it’s been incredible having people around 24/7.  Never a dull moment!


When I met her, I wasn’t sure Steve’s girlfriend liked me. The first time she came to Steve’s house, he introduced us and there was something about the way she said, “Hello, Jack,” that made me uneasy.  Like she would’ve been happier if Steve didn’t have a roommate.  


And I admit it, I wasn’t thrilled about change.  Steve and I had been sharing our place for almost two years and we got along great.  Totally simpatico.  We resonate with each other.   And this might off as woo-woo, but we have some sort of weirdly special kinetic powers.  “Steak tonight?” Steve would say to me and I was amazed – how did he know I was thinking about steak?


So yes, I’ll admit to resentment on my part when Steve’s girlfriend appeared.  She had a bit of that “I’m a cat person” vibe which makes my hackles go up, but we got used to each other.  Especially once we realized we liked the same things – sitting in the sun, sleeping late in the mornings, popcorn with garlic and asiago, and hanging out with Steve. 


I can see why Steve likes her.  She’s pretty and she smells like cookies.  She makes him laugh and it’s nice to see him happy.  


When the quarantine started, none of us were sure what was going to happen.  Steve and his girlfriend had been talking about her moving in – Steve asked my opinion and I told him I thought it was a wonderful idea.  

So she moved in and the house is pretty big for Sherman Oaks and we’ve got a nice yard with a pool – did I mention how much I love swimming?  Steve set up his office in the dining room and his girlfriend set up her office in the living room and I was happy because I could come and go as I wanted.  


Around lunchtime Steve would announce, “Pool time!” and the three of us would go out to the pool and relax – that’s the best.  Then back to work.  


Sometimes Steve turns on the news, but I try not to listen because it makes me sad to hear about how many people have gotten sick or died and I think of those families and I wish I could do something.  I guess I’ll concentrate on the family I have, try to make sure Steve and his girlfriend feel okay.  


They don’t go out much any more.  Not to their offices.  Or to the beach.  We went hiking together a couple times and that was fun.  Everybody is wearing a mask now.  That’s a good thing.  People should be safe.  

Steve used to have a lot of parties.  People hanging out by the pool, lots of drinking and dancing.  That doesn’t happen any more.  (I had champagne once and I didn’t like the bubbles.)


It’s just the three of us.  We eat our meals together.  We sit in the den at night and watch Netflix and Amazon Prime (I’m a sucker for The Crown).


“I’m glad you’re here,” Steve’s girlfriend said one night and she kissed me on the nose.


It makes me realize how lonely I used to get.  Back when Steve went to work.  Before his girlfriend was here.  When I’d be alone at the house all day with nobody to talk to or to play with.  That was rough.  

Now we’re a family.  They look at me sometimes and smile.  “I don’t know what I’d do without you, Jack,” Steve says. 


It makes me happy.  To know Steve needs me.  I’ll always be there for him, his faithful companion.  

And all I ask in return is food in my dish and a good belly rub every now and then.  


Steve and his girlfriend are getting ready to watch The Queen’s Gambit.  She pats the sofa cushion.  “Get up here on the sofa with us, Jack,” she says.  “There’s plenty of room.”


I told you my 2020 was okay.

Marc Rappaport is a writer living in California.

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