Lockdown: Soon There Will Be a Day
There was a time I used to wake up every morning put my make up on and dress up, pack up my stuff inside a bag and go to class. I’d always take the train after breakfast. Sometimes, I had to run for the train, it’d be the last one or I was going to be late. There was a time I could barely go to the city without bashing on someone at the station and disjointing my shoulder on the way and then desperately looking for the exit in Oxford Street. While I grasped my way to escape the crowd, I used to struggle to breathe in the midst of perfume and sweat. There was a time I was walking the streets and the noise of cars horning at each other, people chatting to one another, even the sound of their shoes walking steadily paced on the pavement made my head spin around. There was a time I’d shake hands with a neighbour and ask them about their day. There was a time life would suck me in like leaches except, I was the leach sucking in life, taking it for granted.
There was a time I used to want everything planned out. Where to go out with friends on a Saturday night. Where to spend the next holidays. I even used to plan my study sessions three months before an exam. There was a time I used to plan the future. So I went, I went to the future. In the future, I travelled a lot. I met a bunch of people, good people, bad people, all kinds of people. Sometimes, we’d argue and then we’d make up. Sometimes, we’d have fun or die of boredom together. We travelled together. We’d go to parties together. We drank a lot. We lived together. We’d have breakfast together. Some of those people, I became friends with. I was happy. Life was good. It really was. It is, I mean. I remember this one time, my friends and I hosted this huge house party to a big group of people. We danced all night long. We took pictures of each other. We even broke a table together (the owner got so mad after that, she made us pay for it). We had deep, meaningful conversations and during those moments, we ended up sharing our dreams. Some of us wanted to be actors, musicians and even politicians. Others wanted to launch their own business or become an agent for a celebrity. All of us had big dreams. We’d talk about the future and constellations while dancing the night away while looking at the stars and aiming for them. We were floating free. We were children of the night just fooling ourselves with the idea of prospect and hope. We knew nothing of the world nor how it operates. We were children lulled by the wind and the ocean breeze of the place. Little did we know, this was going to be the last night before we knew it.
Now, we’re living a time, where I don’t wake up every day to put my make up on anymore. Lately, my school bag stands abandoned behind the desk. Sometimes, I even forget it’s even there. Now, I don’t have to take the train nor the tube to go anywhere. Now, I don’t get to smell the different kinds of perfume and sweat, unless it’s my own. Now, I don’t have to worry about getting up early in the morning anymore. I don’t get to plan anymore. Now, we live in a time without time itself and without the hour, you won’t need to count the months until your next exam because probably, it will be cancelled, if it hasn’t been already. Now, we live in a time, we don’t want to plan the future. We don’t want to go there, afraid of what we might find. Now, we live in a time we don’t go out on Saturday nights with our friends anymore, families are segregated, travelling is banned and social distancing is the law. Now, we live in a world where people are asked to stay together while being apart. We live in a world, where we are asked to stay at home to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others. Now, neighbours don’t shake hands with neighbours anymore. When everything else was spinning fast around my head, now time goes by slower than it ever did. Now, we live in a time where working, eating and relaxing in the same place has become our everyday lives.
There was a time I used to know freedom. There was a time when freedom felt like walking by the beach and let the water come to me and wash over my feet. There was a time when freedom meant to go out to the sunshine, watch the sunset or lay my head on the sand while looking at the deep blue sky. There was a time when freedom meant hugging a friend, laughing with someone at the cafeteria, on the street, in class. There was a time when freedom wasn’t staying locked at home but to breathe fresh air. When I left the future to go back to the present, I cried and I cried a lot. I didn’t cry because I was leaving but I cried because I knew that as soon as I landed, my freedom would be taken away from me. It’s like taking the light away from a star. Its existence disappears from the constellation and you wonder if you’ll ever see the light again, if you’ll ever see that star, in the night sky again. I mean, who are we without our stars to guide us?
So I wake up every morning, and I remember that night, the last night before the hurricane happened and I remember the moments we shared, the conversations we had. I remember us, the people we were before – lively, ambitious, mischievous, fearless – and I think to myself that this is how I want to remember us. This is how I want to be. That this is going to get better. It has to get better. Soon, there will be a day when we’ll see each other again. We’ll go out on a Saturday or Thursday night and grab a drink. Soon, there will be a day we’ll all be having hot chocolate and laughing out loud. But now, it’s time to think about our goals, to work on ourselves. Now, it’s time to slow down and take life easy, reflect on our actions and what we can improve. Now, it’s the time to hold on to those same hopes and dreams, to embrace that inner child because that’s all we’ve got left, for now.
© photo from Unsplash
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