It is surreal. My partner and I are self-isolating most of the time ever since we knew about the possibility of asymptomatic spread and the exponential math. But we’ve been homebodies before the pandemic, and if we don’t ever read the news it would seem as if everything has been the same.
I still do my morning cycle at the park near our home. I keep my distance of course, and hopefully my sanity. Most mornings I take a picture or two of the sunrise almost at the same location, but they never look the same. That is the beauty I have learnt to appreciate in the sameness of the everyday.
Some mornings I find myself crying in the middle of cycling. I am petrified at the thought that I might not see the people I love, again. If I choose to see them I put their lives at more risk. The most terrible thing is not knowing when it is going to end. Is it three months, six months, a year or two? When it ends, will things slowly churn back to what life used to be, or will we be living among wreckage? I can deal with a lot of things in life, but not my heart torn into a million pieces.
The elderly in my life. One of the main reasons I returned to Singapore was to spend their remaining years with them. Without this virus situation I was already in preemptive grief knowing there’s not that much time left. Now, I live in fear and anxiety not knowing whether they will be kept safe.
So I remain angry and upset. Especially at people who can choose to self-isolate and yet they don’t. It is difficult to reconcile this with the knowledge that these people are putting other lives at risk.
I often write about the impermanence in life: that I have been in a race against time, and that I regularly remind myself and people I care about to not wait too long to do the things that matter. This acute awareness of time has led me to live my life very differently from the trajectory that seemed destined for me. My partner and I – we often talked about living in a way that would anticipate climate change, illness, grief, deaths, sometimes even the possibility of war. But a pandemic? This soon? We were hoping to keep our innocence for at least five more years.
I am upset with myself. I have an aunt and uncle – they raised me – whom I visit every month. Now I wish I could reverse time and made weekly visits instead. I call, and as a person who never understood why people love meeting in person so much when text messages would suffice, I now know what is the weight of a physical presence.
It is what I’ve been missing since this started.