Chronicling the Days – Rita Pomade

In April 2020, we invited writers in Quebec to submit a story of a single day during the strange, uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine.

We’re thrilled to announce that these stories have been gathered in Chronicling the Days: Dispatches from a Pandemic (Guernica Press). To learn more and buy the book, please visit

Please also join us on the QWF FB Community page, and let the authors know if their words resonated.

This piece is by Rita Pomade, writing on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Photo: Rita Pomade

Leaving France in the Time of COVID-19

When news first broke on French TV about COVID-19 raging through Italy, I had a twinge of discomfort, but believed it would be contained. When it hit a town on the French border, my partner and I still felt safe. We were in the centre of France in a small village outside Orleans in a house belonging to his deceased mother. We were reluctant to see the writing on the wall having only arrived two weeks before for a 6-week stay.

By the time we faced the gravity of our situation, our airline had stopped running, and the airport we were to have left from had closed. The only airport functioning was the Charles de Gaulle outside Paris—3 hours away by car. By chance, we managed to secure one of the remaining flights on Transat Air, but had no idea how we’d get to the airport. All buses, trains and shuttles to the airport had stopped running. Drivers needed permits to say why they were on the road, the only reasons being work and a divorced parent driving a child.

To read the rest of the story, please support our community and check out Chronicling the Days: Dispatches from a Pandemic

2 thoughts on “Chronicling the Days – Rita Pomade

  1. Rita I enjoyed your unique perspective as a Canadian returning home because of the pandemic. Your piece conveys to the reader a heightened sense of anxiety as well as the almost comical situation that you found yourself in.


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