Melanie Raye Castor, separated from her partner Blair Purkiss for seven weeks due to lockdown restrictions in Auckland, shares with Stuff the highs and lows of the past few months. The antics of her cat, Arendelle, brought peals of laughter, reminder her that there is still joy to be found in the hardest moments. “I am grateful for small human kindnesses,” she says, recalling how her flatmate, a nurse, took time to cook a birthday dinner and prepare a special dessert for Melanie – one of many who marked her special occasion in isolation from those she loves. “But I feel like the dawn is on its way,” she concluded. “Maybe, just maybe, everything will be okay.”