In Their Own Words

Remnants of a Pandemic and the Unbalanced Accounts

I. A time bomb:

What like used to detonate at the slightest shift in deadlines, the pandemic became the kind of time bomb that would tingle on the synapses of our sanity, with the promise that it would explode but never would.

The irony is that a world plagued by the malady of having too much to do and seldom enough time was halted to the extent that what we had inherited was all the time that we had beseeched but encaged with idleness. The pandemic handed us a time bomb with its illusory endings to indefinite sentences of isolation; right when the end kept nearing, time was extended on an infinite loop. We hold the time bomb between our teeth, with a prayer paralyzed on our tongue, waiting for it to go off, to save us from the misery of this dimensionless space-time continuum.

How many days since the wind had caressed my skin – two hundred and seventy.

How many years since I have felt your heartbeat in mine – an eternity.

And there will still be no way to track all the times these hands have shot up in prayer; nor how many rotations the hands have taken around the clock; nor how many empty sighs have heaved an escape from these lips and pulled the pin on the bomb. We are still living in the fear of anticipation – waiting for it to go off. Explode. Set us free.


II. The thread of humanity:

All the stories I collected to embroider into the quilt of the narrative became scattered in the wind of confined isolation and I finally understood why solitary confinement is the sentence that rips the skin off humanity.

A therapist asked me to rate my misery on a continuum of the struggles of the history of human sciences between the battle-cry of an infant that opens its eyes to the monster of this world and the harrowing burden of resilience that wears thin with age – I could not, because my soul has been claustrophobic in the prison of my ribs for what feels like a millenia but my skin has not been grazed by your gaze for only two thousand four hundred and thirty days; I was not supposed to survive this.

The therapist says somewhere in this world, you are also suffering in this terminal solitude but the fangs of loneliness are driven by the pangs of hunger; willing to consume the flesh of our crimson organs. In this way, the pandemic was a disguised blessing because when it ripped the chords from our hearts, it tied them all together across the Equator and through the Prime Meridian and then wrapped the remnants of the Earth in the embrace of a mother’s womb.

May 2023 be a year of evolution for all of us.

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