Things That Never Happen To You

Some things happen to others, but never to you. It never happens to you to win the jackpot of a lottery. You never get into the heat of battle (if you are used to living in a peaceful country). According to Sigmund Freud, you also unconsciously believe that you will never die. Until recently, a global pandemic, closed borders, quarantine, and the personal risk of infection with a new dangerous virus were also things that never happen. It looks more like a Hollywood movie script rather than a real chronicle of the events of 2020. I think this is one of the main reasons why officials delayed the closure of borders, and many people did not comply with quarantine measures. At the end of February, my friend Laura invited me to a mini party to mark the middle of the session. This is not the type of event that I like. As a social phobic, I avoid social contact with strangers. If I had to describe social phobia in one word, I would say, “Shame”. You are constantly ashamed of what you do or say in public, and you cannot stop thinking that others think you are weird or even stupid, and because of these thoughts, you become even more awkward. Since I am trying to fight my phobia, I accepted the invitation, although I really did not want to go there. A week later, my body temperature rose sharply up to 38°C. I developed severe weakness, but I couldn't sleep because of the hellish sore throat. I spent two days in bed, and on the third, people in chemical protection suits called at my door and said that Laura was in the intensive care unit with suspected COVID-19. I got tested. The results came pretty quickly: the test was positive. Since my case was considered mild, I was left to be treated and quarantined at home. Staying at home and not talking to anyone is not new or difficult for me. But I had no idea how to organize my life without the possibility of going out to buy food and medicine. Constant home delivery is a heavy financial burden for a student. I had to ask my parents for help, and as a result, to listen to my mother's lamentations, and endless questions about my health 4 times a day on Skype. Every morning was very difficult. No matter how slowly I got up, my legs gave way, and my vision went black. I slowly walked from the bedroom to the toilet, and somewhere in between, I had to sit down for the dizziness to stop. I contacted other guests of that ill-fated party. It turned out that everyone had a confirmed coronavirus, and everyone got sick with it in a mild form. If Laura hadn't been admitted to the hospital, we'd all just assume we had some weird flu. The first week Laura did not call me but only sometimes sent SMS messages because the doctors asked her to talk less. Apparently, at first, she also thought that she just had a cold. But then she began to cough violently with blood along with phlegm. Her grandmother panicked and called an ambulance. “I felt a sharp pain when breathing as if I was being pierced from the inside. It was like there was a devil inside me. It was hard for me to breathe, there was no room in my chest,” Laura described her feelings. “I went through all the circles of hell, including artificial lung ventilation, deceased roommates, and even the fact that some “caring” people managed to tell my family that I would not be able to handle it.” Soon I learned that the grandmother, with whom Laura lived, also ended up in the hospital. My first thought was that she would die, and I myself was horrified by the calmness with which I thought about it. Unfortunately, I was right. Laura told me about it over the phone in a trembling voice. “She died because of me, it was I who infected her.” “This is absolutely not your fault. You didn't know that you had coronavirus,” I clumsily tried to calm her down. “After all, she could have been infected from someone else, now the number of cases is on the rise.” I was lying. I knew this. But worst of all, Laura knew this too. What can be worse than the death of a loved one? Only the understanding that you are guilty of his death. Even if it happened absolutely involuntarily, the feeling of guilt will be hanging like a heavy stone around your neck for the rest of your life. Thoughts in a chaotic dance swept through my head, colliding, and scattering in different directions. I was frantically searching for words of comfort, but I could not find them. The silence was becoming too long and heavy; I wanted to hang up and return to my life, which turned out to be so comfortable. I always do this when I can't carry on such a simple, and at the same time, difficult small talk. Only now it was not a small talk; it was one of the biggest talks in my life. “Anyway, I should get going,” Laura herself decided to end the conversation. I felt disgusting. Only 3 hours later, I learned that the government had declared a quarantine and closed all educational institutions. Several things that never happen happened in just one week.

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