‘It’s really hard the first time, but you soon get used to being out among strangers’.
I was not reassured. First off I was horrified at just how ‘used to it’ people seemed to be – most having reverted to their old unobservant ways much too soon. Just my third time out, masked and wearing safety goggles, I hadn’t expected people’s alertness levels to have plummeted quite so quickly. There was very little attempt at social distancing. Of the very few people wearing masks, two wore them over the mouth only and one wore his under his chin.
A few people were still alert enough to be aware of their surroundings – including my presence – but most had dropped back into old habits. My experimental outing to pick up essential eye drops was not a success. The stress it caused me was utterly exhausting. The ‘disabled’ isolation I have fought so hard against, begins to feel comforting and safe. Even my fiercely defended independent interaction with the world, starts to feel trivial from this alternative viewpoint.
An inconvenient luxury. What’s happened to me?
There comes a point in every day when panic seeps
out between my ribs like the steel pins poking out
from Lady’s resolutely arthritic fingers.
There comes a point when I listen to the wild drum,
when the urge to weep obliterates my mind, when
impossibility intrudes thundering spotlights
to expose life’s frailty. There comes a point when
one moment becomes eternity; one moment
exists as the only moment. I hold my breath
while the earth rolls mindlessly forward like waves
lapping at the feet of the Viking throne. Then breathless,
paused between being and unbeing, I reboot.
And wait to discover how much of me survives.
Anchored by love, caught in its light.