COVID-19: SHADOWS, DEATHS, AND THEN FINALLY THE LIGHT

Life, the most beautiful thing we will ever get to experience.

Literally a valley of roses, a waterfall of emotions. A beautiful, romantic, stubborn, dramatic, melancholic valley. It does not matter how hard life will ever hit, you will always find the strength in the intimacy of yourself to get up even after the harder happenings.

I always use to like this way of viewing life, this little portrait of what we are destined to be, side by the fascinating atmosphere every human being knows about.

Or, at least, that is what I thought. Almost until the pandemic started. This seems to be the very beginning of all my problems, but let’s take it from the beginning.

Until November 2019, I had a straight concept of “normality”. Normality is when we get up in the morning and always struggle about getting up from bed. Normality is being annoyed on the bus when that insistent classmate wants to tell you at every cost about his vacations in Egypt last summer, normality is going to school knowing you will pretend to have a headache so you can spend the whole hour in the bathroom and skip some rude teacher’s lesson. Normality is crying after you have seen “Ratched” on Netflix, normality is crying when people judge you, make you feel so less worthy than you really are. “Normality” is represented by the Sundays spent riding a bike, and normality is the first kiss given quickly under a black rain, which seems to cross your heart and melt your bones till they drop.

Or at least, this was what normality meant to me. Now that concept is gone with the wind.

When covid started, it all seemed so surreal, such as we were in some crazy nightmare that we aren’t able to wake up from. We needed to wear masks, to wear protective glasses. The panicking atmosphere when we, unfortunately, got in contact with a positive, was horrifying. I would have never thought this could have been real if they would have told me some months before. Well, I think it can be clear for the readers of this article how my confidence in “normality” break when we encountered the pandemic.

But, if I have to be fair, I was not so sad about the pandemic at first. Don’t get me wrong; I was, of course, devastated for the terrible losses this pandemic made in the world, but I was not so sad for other reasons. I needed to stay home, okay. I have always considered myself as a very reclusive person, who loves hanging out with the right company of friends, but who enjoys the most staying home with a couple of Russian novels near to my desk. Someone is really forcing me to stay home, safe, reading, e-learning, allowing me to stay as up as I would to make the things I felt more comfortable doing? The readers could be envious of this perspective if they live in a free pandemics era. Well, I would have been too.

See, I don’t know how my perspective changed. It was in the course of a summer. Maybe when they locked us back in. I have had a beautiful summer behind me, always out, partying, dancing, bathing. I just know that one day, all of a sudden, I was watching the news and they announced many deaths. And this thought came to my mind “all of these numbers, they are lives. They are human souls, with hearts, brains, bodies, voices, laughter. And now they aren’t any more”. And that’s how my sun eclipsed in a very, very long shadow.

I think nobody after 9/11 had ever imagined something more horrible than that in a modern era. The whole world has been locked down for months. We were caged in our houses, afraid, ill, weak, with poor minds and poor bodies to handle all of this. Nobody prepared us for this moment, nobody knew this was to be. However, we succeeded. We created innovative vaccines, we learned how to live through the danger zones. We started to transform our anxiety into little worries, and what was a compromised life, into an almost normal way of living.

But…why isn’t the shadow gone now? We came back to life. Why don’t we breathe again like we always used to do? Why is my soul getting darker than an empty screen, than a starless sky?

Why me? This is the first question you ask yourself. Why me? What did I do so wrong? I have always been healthy, “normal”, I have always eaten a lot of food, I have always studied, I have always prayed every night before going to bed.

Then, in this climate of confusion, I found a name for what was happening to me. It wasn’t covid, It wasn’t depression. It was derealization. It’s a very strange name, it literally means “deprived of your reality”. But it doesn’t include the word “normality” in it.

Quarantine has made many more victims than an epidemic. But it’s still very hard to comprehend this, because we, victims of the quarantine, have been infected by an illness, we have been defeated, but we are still alive. Anyhow, this has left many signs on us. Scarfs that will never go away even if treated by the best plastic surgeon on Earth.

I have been in a hospital, trying to search for a name for this illness. I have always seen a therapist because I didn’t know what hit me. And, I approached a world I have always considered to be apart from mine. That’s how I met anorexic girls, autistic children, bipolar boys, and borderline kids. “What do I have in common with those subjects”, I thought walking by the white walls of my therapist’s. Just to realize, months later, that those subjects, were nothing else but the reflection of the weakness of the human soul when he reaches his highest peak. And that’s how the shadow slowly breaks, talk after talk, climb after climb, step after step. You understand where you were wrong, and you will stop asking yourself why this happened to you and why you were so unlucky. You will find the key to happiness.

You will live. You will joy. You will smile. Even though the mask doesn’t allow you to, you will have the courage to smile and laugh again, crying your eyeballs out. You will live again; you will return back to what you called home, even though it’s not the same home you lived in when the pandemic hit. Something, in the living room, changed. And it is the living room of our hearts.

Because a pandemic does hit, stabbing harder than a knife and going deeper than your bones. It makes you fall on the ground, kneeling, fighting every day to get a smile back on your face, even if it’s hard, even if you fall again, even if you are not ready for the next day…

The secret, during a pandemic, not to get caught by the virus is still indeed, a secret.

But, the secret not to lose yourself is simple: make sure you have no programs for your future life. Just live every day as it is. Fight, when you have to fight. Don’t feel afraid to be judged, but always stay sure you will respond back to the person who is insulting you, or the way you are.

I’m still struggling with my own battle. I have never caught covid, but I was caught by the quarantine disease.

It breaks you down. It kills your heart. It impairs your view. But stay sure, nothing lasts forever, neither life itself. So why should we not be living it, or experiencing it to the fullest?

Live, work, pose, smile, jump, ride, drink, walk, drive. Do whatever makes you happy.

And maybe one day, not so far away, we will be able to get out again, hugging ourselves, kissing in the rain.

And we will be able to defeat this pandemic.

And we will be able to defeat the quarantine diseases.

And we will be able to smile.

And we will be able to find a way back home, to find the keys for our locks. And when we will found the keys, we will open the door, but we won’t see our house. We will see a bright light, brighter than the sun. And we will come back to life. And we’ll be happy forever.

In our comfortable, bright, lovely home.

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Autore:

GIUSEPPE ROTELLA

Classe:

VB C I.I.S. ENRICO MEDI – BARCELLONA POZZO DI GOTTO.
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