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First Day of Quarantine

You are scared. You are scared to shit. You half-know what to do. You have an idea. Oh, you have absolutely no idea. Or is it a trick your mind plays to get you out of a situation where hope is pointless?

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Stay at home. That statement is everywhere. You know you should. You are sane. And so long as the pandemic lasts, that is the only remedy.

You have to go out. You need to get stuff because you aren’t stocked. You also have to catch the air outside; but most importantly, you need food.

Soon you’re on. On your way, you go. You encounter people, practice social distancing; feel cool—like ‘this v-thing can’t get to me. The preventive viral code is way easier than expected’.

That thought comes down as the fall of a newborn from a mother’s arms in few moments when you realize the nearest open market is an inflated N100 very public bus away with the grain you need.

Well, bus or hunger? Reluctantly, you choose bus. The authorities had shut them down but willful drivers still go about their businesses.

This bus you choose is loaded with people. Now, how can you not enter, it’s the only one available in 9 minutes of a frustrating wait.

Here you are in the midst of potential viral carriers all packed in the bus like different sets of Siamese twins conjoined (now you have to find your look-alike).

Someone coughs; many sweat; half of them have their hands on seats. Microorganisms are everywhere. But the bus is moving, with you in it.

“Who get this ID card?” a man asked no one in particular in typical Nigerian vernacular.

“E say na dokiter… abeg who get this name Emeka?”

A more calm and gentleman claimed it.

“Madam bring your money na. Shey no be from Oshodi you enter bus since. You no wan pay?” the bus boy yelled at one woman.

You do not just get the yelling. You get that most passengers come from afar.
From Oshodi, one has to go en route Mile 2, one of the affected areas with 3 cases recorded. And with the conductor making a stop at every bus-stop to take more people along, you realize you are in trouble.

Oh shit! It just hit you again that you almost shouted that out loud—the lost ID, the bad pronunciation. There is a doctor in the bus and with major hospitals around the area being used to treat the infected; common sense tells you he should work in one.

He is your Siamese partner. Your heart races. You couldn’t wait for the next bus-stop to alight. You pay your fare. Trekking just became the most desirable looking girl in the streets.

You get down, In the store you go and out with your rice bag with a heart that has jumped out of its enclosure.
You take a 30 minutes walk home. Do you have the virus or not? What do you do?

Then you thought: I’d die of hunger. I had to go out. Going out meant living.

It could also mean dying. You pinched yourself.

Then, finally it hit you. You don’t decide. How could you not know? The extra care you put in, one small detail could mess them up. Only then do you turn to something bigger than yourself for support, safety and peace.

Death in the end is inevitable. The end is inevitable. God is inevitable. How could you not realize?

In the midst of the Corona outburst (outbreak is a mild term), we can sense the universe telling us, that no matter how hard we try to get away from God, we’d fail. Countlessly.

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