Essays

Inside the Proverbial Tunnel

I have decided not to publish my writings during this quarantine because I didn’t want to cast seeds of anxiety and panic among the people who might read what I write. Since the pandemic began, I would only write on my journal and it is interesting to note the progression of my thoughts from sheer panic and anxiety to adapting to what is the new normal now.

My body clock is in shambles that I keep trying to repair but to no avail. From March to April, I would only go out twice a month to get groceries and pass by the drive thru to get some food. I remember how it felt like I was living in those apocalyptic movies that I don’t take seriously. The city that I have lived in all my life suddenly looked like a ghost town. The roads were empty and the traffic jam that I despised most of all was suddenly gone. I remember going home after one of my grocery runs and stopping at a red light on an intersection. I looked around and there were no cars around. That intersection used to accommodate a huge amount of traffic flow and now it was just my car idling there and waiting for the light to go green. The red light took its time, as I knew it would; I have passed through that intersection so many times. My mind told me that I could just go on and pass the red light and nothing will happen because there were no cars around that would crash into me. I thought that the only element missing was heavy fog and it would have been a scene from Silent Hill. A lump formed in my throat as I thought that and I swallowed it immediately before it became tears. I’ve decided to wait for the green light because to not do so would mean that I am forgetting the life that we all used to have before the pandemic.

In the following months, I would sometimes catch up with lone cars on that intersection who would also stop at the red light and wait for it to turn green. Now, my country men are not known to be followers of road rules that’s why the traffic here is insane. It surprised me and gladdened me that this town is not Silent Hill after all. I told myself that maybe we were thinking the same thing; that passing the red light would mean forgetting everything we’ve learned from our life before the virus happened. Or maybe, even though evidently there are no other cars in sight, they are waiting for all the other cars to come and then everything would be back to the way it were.

I stopped using social media since last week because I realized that isolation and social media don’t go well together. It’s like drinking alcohol and taking prescription medication at the same time. I am well aware that I have become an angry person ever since the pandemic began and I don’t like the person that I am becoming. I am angry at how things are being handled, I am angry at all the time that was wasted, I am angry because I know that things will never be the same again, that there will be no going back to whence we’ve come from.

It’s been six months and I feel like we’re all inside the proverbial tunnel, the one where there is a light at the end of it. But right now, it’s all darkness. I don’t see any light yet, not even a faint dot. I don’t even know when this tunnel is going to end and I don’t think anybody has a clue either. For now I think the only way to get to the light is to keep going, even if everything’s dark and every day looks the same. I have read somewhere that if you find yourself in hell, you keep walking. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? You keep walking, you keep going; the story only ends where you want it to.

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