Pandemic Diaries 6 – Final: Never-ending Quarantine
April 4, Saturday – Day 15: We got our results back. Mine is negative, but some people tested positive, which means they need PCR tests. I’m so glad I’m not one of them. We are told that there is a high possibility of false positives with the quick tests, as they test antibodies. This means that the result maybe be positive if you had it before and don’t have it now, or used antibiotics recently, etc. Though it would still worry the people who tested positive. While those of us who tested negative are packing to leave tomorrow, they have a possibility of remaining behind or even getting sent to the hospital quarantine. Honestly, I don’t think either my or my mum’s mental state would’ve been able to take that.
April 5, Sunday – Day 16: Plot twist, I’m still here. I woke up to a message on the group chat saying three people tested positive, one being from our plane and two being from the other plane. They are taken to the hospital and now people who sat around them on the plane, the bus and anyone with potential contact need to be tested, again. And if any of those test positive, more of us might need tests. This means that we are staying here more, indefinitely. I spoke to my parents, I didn’t want them to be upset so I sound pretty indifferent, I was going to be in my room at home anyway. But then, the dinner came. They were not prepared for us staying the night. The food isn’t bad, but it isn’t filling and is nowhere near what would be waiting for me at home. My mum was going to make my favourite food. Remember how I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go home or stay? Although I have a higher risk of being a carrier, I can’t think logically, I’m crystal clear about what I want: I want to go home. I just can’t be here anymore. I don’t want to be logical, I don’t want to be an adult, I just want my mum. I want my room. I want my family. I want good food. I want a hug. Just one hug.
When the world around you feels like it’s crashing down, it feels like that one hug from your mum’s going to end it all. How much I wanted it all to end. To everything to get better. To feel better. To not feel like I don’t even control my own body; shaking hand, rushing mind, fast-beating heart…
April 6, Monday – Day 17: Everyone lost it yesterday. Even the ones that never complained started complaining about the food. Some took it to social media. The food wasn’t just bad-looking but unhygienic as ever. A piece of wire in the food cut someone’s tongue. It’s like we were unwanted as if it was our choice to stay. Today, they are treating us better to make it up. They brought us some coffees and cookies in the afternoon. I’m enjoying those very much, especially knowing no one else tested positive, so we are free to go tomorrow. So, that April’s Fool joke came true… This whole year is April’s Fool.
April 7, Tuesday – Day 18: I woke up with the room phone ringing. My hands are shaking, as I reach out to the phone. I’m expecting the worse at this point. Someone’s going to tell me I’m not leaving. Someone’s going to tell me I’m not leaving. Someone’s going to tell me I’m not leaving. I can’t do this anymore. We each got times allocated for leaving. The call is just to inform me that I can leave earlier, as the leaving process is going faster than they expected. I sighed. It feels like I’ve been holding my breath for hours. I get up to finish the last of the cleaning I have left. From the balcony door, I can see people leaving and hear them shouting goodbyes to others sitting on their balconies. This is it. I’m going home.
Even though I couldn’t touch him, seeing my dad filled me with joy. I want to cry, not of sadness but of relief. You know those tears when you’ve been staying strong for long, you say just one more push, one more push and when it’s finally over, you let go. I didn’t cry, as I didn’t want to upset my dad, but I finally let go of my guard. I’m finally safe. They gave us flowers in a pot, as we left. I picked up purple ones. They are beautiful. I even named the plant because why not. Her name is Lila. Lila will look beautiful in my purple room.
Arrival at home is sad and hilarious and ridiculous all at the same time. My mum stops me by the garden gate to take a photo of me. Then, have me leave all my stuff outside. She was nearly having me get naked in front of the door, which obviously isn’t happening. She also resists so much for not giving me back my stuff and putting them into a separate quarantine in the garage. I convince her that I need them so she decides washing their exterior with alcohol and have me not to put any of my clothes into the wardrobe before she washes them. So here’s to living out of my suitcases for another week.
I’ve never been happier about lunch. FINALLY, MY FAVOURITE FOOD. And coke. And chocolate. I don’t remember enjoying food as much as this moment. And I assure you, I enjoy food a lot.
April 10, Friday – Day 21: Honestly, I thought the diaries were over once I was home. A few more days of me hanging in my room and having coffee with family while they sat in the garden and me on the balcony upstairs. Nothing exciting for you to know but this nightmare keeps on going every time I think I’m about to wake up. Some of the hotel staff that served our food tested positive. The genius government didn’t think of testing them before they let us out of quarantine and now we got two more weeks of home quarantine. Welcome to never-ending quarantine. Yes, I’m at home, and I’m comfortable and all but it’s still disappointing. My sister was going to wake me up tomorrow and I was going to have breakfast with my family. I was going to hug them, above all. I am a hugger and I haven’t hugged anyone for a month now. I’ve always valued human contact but I don’t think any of us understood our need for it until we longed for it this much.
April 11, Saturday – April 24, Friday: Honestly, I don’t think there is much left to say. Singing, playing the guitar, reading, bunch of Instagram posts, lots of complaining, lots and lots of binge-watching, more distant coffee times with family, some writing, taking the interviews I’ve been putting off, and going back to uni work. Nothing interesting. I enjoyed my room and my balcony that I didn’t use much before, but I’m just so ready to get out.
April 25, Saturday: It’s weird how normal things get defamiliarised in such a short time. I woke up with a joy that I can’t find any words that could express correctly. I feel rejuvenated. I feel kind of guilty, as I open the door of my room and start heading downstairs. My family have already woken up. My eyes are almost filling, but I push back the tears.
And I hug my mum.
© photo from Unsplash
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