On the Flip Side
Alina throws her bag on the countertop and fixes herself a toast while dancing to the tune of her latest remix on her headphones. She doesn’t hear the creaking sound of Aunt Melania’s wheelchair reaching the kitchen. Neither does she listen to the rising number of Corona virus cases airing on the radio.
The next day her cousin Nerlicia is back from her hospital shift.
‘Hey Nelly, I have an event to cover today…let’s go!’
‘Not today, Ally.’ Nerlicia replies, grappling with the remote to turn on the TV.
‘Nelly, being a medic is so boring. You hardly ever go on nights out. I am better a DJ than a DR.’
The news flashes a footage of Covid-19 patients, with a voice-over: Due to a rise in the number of active cases of Corona virus there will be a total lockdown as from tomorrow. The public is requested to stay home and follow all sanitary precautions.
Minutes later, Alina’s mobile whirrs with pings of event cancellations, giving her pangs of disappointment. Nerlicia’s pager beeps with a message to rush to hospital to form part of the Covid Response Team. After 2 days of assiduous shift, Nerlicia is home again, her cheeks still bearing the indent of her facemask. Aunt Melania wheels in, and looks at her. From far.
‘I wish I would work too, at least I would get out of the house. It’s suffocating in here.’ reproaches Alina.
‘You wish Ally? There are people dying there! Every patient I see is potentially Covid positive. My worst fear is bringing this virus home. That’s why I am packing more clothes so that I have minimal contact with you all. It’s hard for me to stay away from you…I yearn to be in the comfort of a home but I have no choice.”
Nerlicia zips up her bags and tells Alina, “Keep Aunty company, cherish the time you are getting to spend together, stay home and stay safe!”
Home – A prison for the wild hearts.
Home –A yearning for the brave hearts.
And Aunt Melania, well, nothing changed for her.