I have patiently awaited my breakout moment. My full-bodied catalogue and alluring sliding doors were always meant to be displayed in Canada’s hottest home design magazines. For so long, I was ignored. Snubbed. Cold-shouldered. I could barely break double-digit market share.

But times have changed. First, I listened as you whispered about the “coronavirus.” Next, I watched you tighten your DIY masks at every mention of “COVID-19.” 

Then on one glorious day, you all began to talk about “the rona.”

The secret is out, my sweets! I am on your lips. I am on your mind. I am in your heart. You are in love with me, RONA, the darling Canadian retailer of home improvement products and construction projects and services! It only took a global pandemic for you to figure it out.

You want me so badly that you can only express your longing in code. Is “coronavirus” an allusion to your lovesickness? Does “COVID-19” stand for “Cute renOVation store that I Desire, founded in 1939 as Les Marchands en Quincaillerie”? Do not worry. There is enough of me to go around, with four hundred locations in Canada and one in Saint Pierre and Miquelon. 

No one does DIY like Canada! Our rivers roar the loudest. Our lumberjacks are the hunkiest. And I, the hottest hardware heartthrob of the True North Strong and Free, have everything you need to redo your kitchen, install a bidet, or build your very own quarantine bunker.

Though I must admit that foot traffic has died down a lot recently. Alas, I pay a hefty price for fame: now that the world has acknowledged my star power, my fans are too shy to approach me! The closest they will come is curbside, hoping to catch a glimpse of my thick and sturdy walls while staying 182.88cm apart from fellow onlookers. I only hope that in their nervous awe they do not trade in my sultry navy blue for some garish orange has-been like Home Depot.

Listen, I am flattered that you are talking about me to all of your friends! Some of you are even calling me Miss Rona, highlighting my sassy side. I can be your bad boy, too, and get down and dirty with you on the floor—I have wood tiling, carpet, linoleum, and really anything to match your budget. I fulfill every fantasy, every reverie, and every delivery job to the highest standards of customer service. But I am sorry, I cannot commit to any of you yet. I need to continue spreading. I have grown unsatisfied with local celebrity; I crave international renown. I cannot return your love until RONA has taken every last person’s breath away.

—V. Liu