Postcards from my balcony – Series One

by Alex Bulmer

Dedicated to everyone who needs support, gives support and appreciates tweezers…

Alex is seated on a balcony at a small, round table with 5 telephones of various colours, sizes and styles spread out on the table and balcony ledge. She is speaking into the receiver of the red telephone. A glass of white wine is on the table.
Photo by Ben Roberts

Postcard 1

Image Description: A blue pillow on a bed.  Sticking out from underneath are scrunched up bits of kleenex.

Written on the other side:

Thursday March 12 2020

Feel sick. Came back from England 15 days ago. Called Toronto Public Health.

The nurse said no test, just rest and monitor symptoms.

PL climbed onto my balcony and left a bag with barley soup, cheese, oranges, bananas. 

I need to cancel my house cleaner.

Did I make other people ill? The thought is so disturbing.


Postcard 2

Image Description:A Toronto apartment balcony on ground level, with a table and two chairs.

Written on the other side:

Friday March 13 2020

I feel hot.

Spoke to my mom on the phone. She’s eighty-six.  Must remember to ask how she feels being the “most at risk”. I thought she’d outlive cockroaches.

Worried about my crip friends. All of us. But especially my friends with small lungs, or an inability to cough, or who have crappy immune systems – more people called the “most at risk”.


We used to just be the “at risk”.


P.S. Who wants to be a “the” anything?

Postcard 3

Image Description: A bag of bagels. 

Other side:

Saturday March 14 2020

PL came back with bagels. She left them on the balcony. I felt well enough to go to the door and wave.

“AY is waving from the car and blowing kisses”, She said.   

I blew a kiss back – into my hand – a little humour.


Postcard 4

Image Description:A woman with short grey hair and glasses stands on a lawn, waving.

Other side:

Sunday March 15 2020

Feeling better. Think it’s a cold.

Made a salad and used my salad spinner for the first time. What a great invention.

AV visited my balcony. I sat at the window and we talked on the phone. She brought lemons and ginger ale.

I finished the phone call and waved. I don’t think I’ve ever before finished a call with a wave.


Postcard 5

Image Description:Close up of an upper lip

Other side:

Monday March 16 2020

I found my tweezers.


Postcard 6

Image Description:A male- presenting person with short dark hair holds a box. He has dollar signs for eyes.

Other side:

Tuesday March 17 2020

It’s St. Patty’s day. I called TW and asked if he could help get in some red wine.

He told me he’s no longer going into stores. 

By late afternoon, five bottles of wine adorned my balcony. TW had them delivered to his house.  Then he brought them to me.

He believes he’s found his golden ticket in this quarantine economy.


Postcard 7

Image Description:Middle aged hands on a banjolele.

Other side:

Thursday March 19 2020

Practiced Pretenders on my banjolele – Back On The Chain Gang.

Spoke with CS and SH in England. I’m scared for them.

CS’s mom lives in a seniors’ home.  All the activities cancelled. She’s likely facing government quarantine in the coming weeks. Days?

We agree to throw her a phone concert.

What makes a good quarantine playlist?


Postcard 8

Image Description:Bare feet on a hardwood floor. 

Other side:

Friday March 20 2020

Stood on my balcony. 

A dog barked.

It occurred to me that I have feet.


Postcard 9

Image Description:Little white baby booties.

Other side: 

Saturday March 21 2020

Phone phone phone.

Caught up with SS.  Laughed about my blind lesbian party mix up. Those were the days we danced – together.

Spoke to my cousin later in the day. 

She told me about a woman who challenged Ernest Hemingway to write a novel in six words.

Hemingway wrote:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

We could all write one.


Click here to read Series Two