I tremble as I open the shoe drawer. I’ve not worn shoes now for nearly four months. I choose the sturdy lace-ups. The pavement can be too harsh for anything flimsier. They said not to take a coat. Wrinkly pass. Check. Bank cards. Check. Hand sanitiser. Check. Mask. Check.
So, this is it. Now I walk down the familiar and oh so strange street. Carrying a handbag feels odd.
The main road’s almost as busy now as on a normal Saturday. It’s easy enough to cross though. Will the bus come? Am I doing the right thing? Won’t the bus be covered in germs? I have my white gloves. I won’t put the mask on until the last minute though. I can’t breathe properly and it makes my glasses mist up.
There it is. It suddenly seems so normal, catching a bus on a Saturday morning. I hold out my arm and pull on my mask. The vehicle slows down. The driver nods as I get on and slap my card on the reader. He’s wearing a mask. So are all the passengers. It’s sinister. I don’t like it. Why do we have to live this way? I take a seat next to one with a “Do not sit here” sign on it.
The bus doesn’t stop until it reaches the town centre. I’m too early. They said not to arrive more than five minutes before the appointment.
I don’t trust the shops. I sit in the park and watch the birds. Have they noticed there’s something up?
The hairdresser washes, snips and then styles. She looks bizarre with that visor over her face. We don’t talk like we normally do. It’s too hard with all this paraphernalia. Besides, the normal chit-chat seems too trivial.
“That’s better,” says my husband when I get back home. I look in the mirror. It is. It makes me happy but I’m even happier that I needn’t find this courage again for another five weeks. I wonder whether in the next fourteen days I’m going to get the high fever and the dry cough.