Read After Covid…5

They still keep calling me. I am only able to hold it off so much. Inevitably, I cave into the pressure. Could I work in a school that is in some godforsaken part of the country? Maths, she said. I hate maths. Yes, I said and almost instantly regretted it.

Our middle daughter seems to have the virus. She’s locked in her accommodation at university and she’s trying to battle it out, not wanting to bring it home with her. Spreading the virus is something that decent human beings should not do, but when your child is showing signs of being ill, very ill if not attended to, where does being a decent human being stop and being a parent begin?  I woke this morning, we both woke very early, and my wife told me that I shouldn’t do the day’s work. I agreed.    

Later in the morning, the middle daughter is on the phone saying that she is a s right as rain. She is like the British weather, unpredictable but to expect rain. It turns out that her Corona crisis was merely a cough and the dizziness that she experienced was down to the fact that she was tired, all day.

Early doors, I had cancelled the work that I was to do in the back of beyond. I was one of the first ‘loo roll and bread searchers’ in Tesco; a feat I managed through skilful queuing at the most obvious entrance which was situated at the front of the store. It was with a certain smugness that I long-strode into the store, all the while keeping my eye on the  influx at the back door. Social distancing aside, I overtook the man pushing the floor sweeper and made my way to the shelf where yesterday I had assisted an older woman to reach the last of the magic tissue paper. I realised that this had been a lost opportunity whilst knowing that I could perform not other action; my parents had brought me up too well. With the memory still fresh, I was greeted with the same empty shelf that had been there yesterday. Foraging teams of middle-aged people were scouring the rest of the store for items that could sustain them through the coming weeks and months. The thing was coming.

The rest of the day lay before me. I had turned down the work and our middle daughter had turned down the chance of coming home early. Her older sister had returned from London and was ‘working from home’. A sudden tiredness overcame me as I sat on the bed and tried to write.

A light sleep came first.  

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