I looked out my window. It was raining again and there was no light as usual. I had been confined to this room for over two months now and although I wasn’t losing my mind, like my friends were, I still longed desperately for that freedom we had but didn’t value and couldn’t value. Yes, the value of a thing truly is not known until it’s lost and gone to the wind. And when it slips from your grip, you look at your now empty hand, suddenly feeling the heaviness of that emptiness you’re left with.
I longed once again to see my friends and hug them silly. I longed for the sleepy lectures we received every Tuesday by 8am. I missed the joy of walking into the 2001 cafeteria in my school and strolling towards my favorite spaghetti stall. I missed the quiet fair-skinned man who sold ice-cream opposite my hostel. I even missed walking under the sun, sweating and tired, hoping to get to my destination on time.
I couldn’t believe that it had been two months since I was in school. It had been two months since I had witnessed a fight on the busy Lagos roads. This pandemic did not do us well. Of course, what would you expect? It’s a pandemic. It has never done well.
I remembered Sola’s wistful voice over the phone as she made a long list of the things we would do “when the pandemic ends.”
“Emily, when this stupid pandemic ends ehn, I don’t want to hear any ‘I’m an introvert’ nonsense that you’re fond of spilling. We’re going to go out and have fun. Breathe fresh air and ogle all day at cute boys. You’ve had a long introvert holiday, so you had better not even give me any excuses,” she had said.
The rain became even heavier and I couldn’t help but sadly remember her words. Like Sola, so many people were holding unto the hope of “when the pandemic ends” they’ll do this and that. It was all they had but permit me to be a pessimist. What if it doesn’t end? What if we’re doomed to a lifetime of social distancing? What if we have to acclimatize ourselves with this horror that has taken over our lives? What if the pandemic never ends and we only build our lives around it? What if these facial masks become part of us? What if hand-sanitizers and hand-washing soaps rule the day?
What if the pandemic never ends…
My older sister rushed out of her room and brought me out of my reverie.
“Emily, I’ve had enough of dad’s nagging! When this pandemic ends, I’m moving out!” she said and stormed back into her room.
I started at the door she banged behind her. The rain had quieted down now, leaving a chilly atmosphere. For their sakes, for the sake of their sanities, I hoped that the pandemic truly would come to an end.
And if it finally does, I’ll consider being an extrovert.