Fourth-year Nina Nahas had no reason to leave her house. Her classes were online, her gym was closed, dates were out of the question, and Toronto was turning cold and windy.
Saturday night was the first time she would see a friend, face-to-face, in weeks. She wanted to be safe, yes, but she needed an escape into normalcy, something beyond the cozy confinement of her parents’ home.
‘A coffee with a friend seems safe enough,’ Nina confirmed to herself, rolling out of bed with a soft thud. She got ready, donning her chic black mask. But what she saw in the mirror made her heart fall. The strings had no slack; the mask was bulging.
Admittedly, she’d been indulging in the finer things a bit more of late: a few bottles of wine here and there, late-night pantry raids, off-mute lecture snacking. But she never thought it’d catch up with her.
Nina travelled downstairs and found her mother reading in the living room.
“Mum, do you think this mask looks a bit… tight?”
Her mother swivelled, tossing a book to the carpeted floor with a soft thud. She narrowed her eyes.
“Which one is that? Oh, the one I made back in March? Honey, I tightened the straps on that yesterday with my sewing kit. I thought it looked a bit… loose. Looks great now, though,” she added, feeling around the floor for the book and returning, after a second glance at Nina, to her page.
Photo Credit: Nona Jalali