It’s August! How did that happen? Where did the rest of the year go?
I remember January and February. I recall getting back from the States in early December right after my granddaughter’s beautiful wedding in Georgia.
Fresh off the plane, I had to rush Christmas shopping, organize a late holiday dinner and an even later opening of gifts. And then, after getting myself and others all hyped up with plans of stepping out and making noise on New Year’s Eve, I realized I was too tired, chucked everything, and decided to greet 2020 in my son’s high-rise overlooking Bonifacio Global City and Makati. I remember raising my glass of the bubbly at the stroke of midnight while watching the breathtaking spectacle of fireworks light up the sky over the panoramic expanse from Manila Polo Club to Rockwell Center.
Our party ended early. After wishing each other a happy new year and feasting on yet more bocadillos and fabada, I headed back home to Alabang, and noticed there was a thick mist from the firecrackers still hanging in the air. It looked eerie. And I remember my driver’s delight as we breezed through the Skyway tollgate realizing there was no toll to pay. We got a free ride.
The New Year had a fabulous ring to it. It was 2020, like perfect eyesight. It seemed full of promise. At least, it felt that way.
January breezed through, with people making and breaking New Year resolutions. And we had a memorable Valentine season with the usual gaudy display of hearts and love tokens. I remember being thrilled to see my favorite love team in concert on stage. They had an unprecedented sold-out week-long gig at The Theater at Solaire. Bravo!
I think it was at about that time that the new coronavirus reared its ugly head. But no one paid attention. We thought it was just another flu strain. We were too busy doing our thing. On March 9, which turned out to be my last night on the town, I was invited to the last performance of “Joseph the Dreamer.” It was fantastic.
I remember we wore masks. No, it was not required. It just seemed the right thing to do. We felt better. Protected. But we didn’t really know from what, not yet.
A few days later, all hell broke loose.
We went on lockdown March 16. Today is the 139th day. I don’t think anyone could have imagined something like this could happen. Ever.
We have lost almost half of 2020 to an invisible foe. Globally the loss of life is staggering. Our own death toll from the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is unspeakable. Despite all the bright minds in science and medicine, we are still stuck in the middle of only God knows what, and the numbers soar with no sign of abating.
When we were forced to shelter at home, curfew was imposed and it was strictly prohibited to leave the premises. It occurred to me then that I had important things I needed to do outside the house. I was alarmed. I had dental work scheduled. My beauty regimen had to be canceled. Our Sunday family gatherings were put on hold.
But I was comforted by the notion that this would probably be a matter of just one week, or two, tops. After a brief hiatus, life would return to normal, I figured. Besides at my age it does not matter much to leave something undone. Who cares?
But the weeks came and went and soon it became clear that we might be in pandemic mode for the long haul.
We got counsel from experts. The prognosis for persons my age was depressing, even scary, and my children reacted like the gestapo. My casita was off-limits to anyone without the proper “credentials.” My quarantine started to look indefinite.
Thus began my days fraught with worry and anxiety, of lying awake wondering if the virus had sneaked in just because someone came to visit that had been with someone who had dined with someone who had not worn a mask. We did our own tracking and tracing. It is weird how a chance meeting or casual handshake can become a matter of life and death.
I have had too many sleepless nights wondering, worrying. I watch the news and cringe as big shots play politics and casually call for business as usual. It is difficult not to lose my patience.
Instead, I look for something that will lift my spirits, give me hope.
A few days ago someone sent me a small calamansi tree and an oregano plant. Her card said, “They say plants make you happy. Let me share my happiness with you.”
Both plants are on a table next to the entrance of my casita. I am not known for my green thumb but I will certainly make every effort to make “happiness” grow at my front door.
We are a world in anguish. Never before on social media has there been a more fervent call for prayer. This passage from the Second Book of Chronicles has been posted time and again.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”