What can you do?

It was 2020, there was a pandemic. It is true, you can check Wikipedia, it will tell you everything. How people lived for weeks at home, working from home, socializing online, maybe also fucking online, I don’t know. I was lucky enough to be provided for at home, if I had wanted to. But who was thinking about that? We were all depressed, tired of being stuck in the same place with the same nagging people 24/7. Glued at our screens vomiting deaths and polls, our limbs became rooted to couches and beds, while our stomachs expanded proportionally to the length of the imposed isolation. We spent 2020 living between waves, shouting our joy to be free just to get back into our prison moments later. What was the choice though, honestly? Let people die or let the economy die? There was no choice, no good choice. Someone, somewhere had to lose. And everybody shouted something with outrage: that closing shops was going to kill the small shop owners, closing theatres and cinema was killing all artists, closing factories was killing the economy of the whole country. And as many shouted with the same outrage: not closing was killing people, was killing the health carers, was killing the elderly and the weak.

The truth? I forgot. After so many years, it becomes unimportant. Like wars. They come and go. If you are a survivor, you get to tell the story you want. And if you were not…well, it has been important only to you and maybe your family. What I know is the fear many in my family had to go to the hospital and not coming out. Older aunts and uncles did not care about their diabetes or heart conditions anymore, the hypochondriacs were less worried at the idea of getting a cancer and looked out for Covid signs, but nobody went for regular check-ups. We knew you had to avoid getting into one those hospitals at all costs. At cost of your own life, yes. Maybe you die from a heart attack, but at least you die home, with your family.

But you cannot control what goes around you and if fate knocks on your door, what can you do? It knocked on ours, and even if it was not Covid, we had to relinquish my old ma. But we were wrong. Even though she went into the hospital, we could still see her. She was there at a window, waiving at us, while we sat in the veranda of the café in front of the building. No words could be spoken, no bright eyes were to be seen. Just a figure at the window, white as a ghost, her hands in the air the time it takes to order an espresso and drink it, maybe smoke one cigarette. Two in the case of my father, you know, it was real love between them. A love which ended because an overwhelmed hospital had not enough staff to take care of everybody. She was not supposed to go this way, but what can you?

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