The virus crept up on me while I was holidaying in Egypt.
It wasn’t just the ancient sites on the Nile that were relatively empty of tourist but once we got off our small boat I noticed the hotels were empty as well.
Then an urgency to cancel further travel and get back to Australia.
The situation fluid, flights booked and paid for evaporating between lunch and dinner.
More flights, more cancellations.
It was obvious the wheels were falling off as I travelled between countries, from closed borders to transit-only airports, making my way back home.
‘Home’ there’s a word.
Quarantined in my house and garden I’m sealed in by my fence.
I discover that ten laps of the garden are a kilometre.
Friends come to my gate. I’ve put out tables and chairs each side of the fence and we share conversations, coffees, drinks, on a B.Y.O. basis. Nothing can leave my section for 14 days, not me, not a slice of cake, not a glass of wine.
But it’s not cheery. My fence has become a place at which people air their fears as more and more closes around them. I am at once in the village but strangely out of it as well, excluded, sitting there the other side of the fence.
No virus develops in me and my 14 days are up.
On the day I come out of isolation the country closes down.
I walk the dog down to the main street. I am reminded of the time I first came here 17 years ago. Empty street, closed shops.
(The streets are empty, the shops are closed.)?There is no smell of coffee.
I wake one morning afraid.
If I catch this virus I will probably die.
My home has moved from being a quarantine station to a haven in a hostile world.
I don’t do fear at all well.
I decide to make-do and not leave the village.
If the small IGA doesn’t have what I need I adjust. It’s been several weeks since I made a risotto.
Every transaction is by card. The currency I got when I returned to Australia sits in my purse, untouched.
I walk the dog a lot and wave to people a street apart.
My car gets a flat battery from lack of use.
Several of the closed village shops set up on-line stores and I buy my meat, fruit and vegetables this way. It’s a bit chaotic at first.
Michael, the butcher, puts on-line that he’s made some lamb sausages. I’m lucky and get a kilo.
I’m nervous when it’s time to begin easing restrictions.
I’ve become very comfortable in my quiet world. A little too safe, perhaps.
I’m shocked when some of my friends go to a hairdresser. I suppose there’s a sliding scale between how-you-look to getting-the-virus. I am clearly at the health end of this scale.
I hold my breath and let the first person step through my doorway. I keep it a secret that she is the first.
Conversations of re-opening the village are beginning. Planning is beginning. I must admit I struggle.
Somehow, we need to move our attention from surviving to something bold, to the future.
‘Future’, now there’s a word.