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Love In The Time of Corona


Do you want to tell me what is going on?” 

I was startled out of sleep by the familiar voice. I managed to open my eyes; the room was dimly lit, the only light came pouring out of the bathroom into the room. I sat up straight to face him but I wasn’t sure what exactly was happening, why he had woken me up in the middle of the night, what could have been so important that couldn’t wait till we woke up the next morning, after all, we both did not have anywhere to be.

It was Day 10 of the lockdown due to the pandemic, and we had spent the last couple of days cooked up in my small room, popularly called a ‘self contain’. The walls were painted a light shade of brown and the room only contained my bed, a chair, my TV, a fridge, and a dresser.

I was leaning on the bed’s headboard and I knew what it was he was talking about but hoped, maybe prayed it wasn’t it. 

Please…relax, let’s talk” I said.

He was now pacing, he was too angry to talk, but he tried, he explained how he had gone through my phone. He had seen the conversation with the friend he had warned me about from work and how I had not told him we had attended the event from last month together. I was quiet, I didn’t know where to start from, he was right, I lied.

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So far we have reported over 2000 cases here in Nigeria…”

The voice on the TV trailed off in the background, I was trying to read a book but I couldn’t focus, the silence in the room was deafening. He was sitting on the chair near the window across the room and was on his phone – his new companion. We had barely spoken to each other, 2 days after he read the conversation. The fact that we were locked down and couldn’t go out to get distracted made everything worse.

I didn’t have a choice; I couldn’t run off to my cousin’s house as I mostly did when we were in a fight. We had to learn how to live with the stress of facing the chaos – in our relationship and in the world. I got up, stood beside the window where he was seated, 

I know that nothing I can say to you will make it hurt less, but I am sorry…genuinely. It is already too hard to go through staying home; I don’t want to do this isolation thing without you”. 

That was it, those were the only words that could come out of my mouth, it wasn’t what I had planned to say but I couldn’t say any more. My heart was pounding, my head ached, I did not expect an answer, but I hoped for one.

“Babe, you’re right….” 

he sighed, trailing off in thoughts and then returning. He stood up, walked to the window where I was standing, and took my hand, he was smiling, not a full one but was something. 

2 meters please!! Social distancing!!!”

I grumbled to lighten the tension a bit. We laughed, it was the first time in a few days, the lockdown had taken a toll on both of us.

I don’t want to do this isolation thing without you too, please let’s not ever lie to each other again.”

I tugged at his now overgrown beard, smiled and said “I promise”.

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Things could always be better, but things could always be worse”

Marla Gibbs

IMAGE CREDIT:
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Irene Akumagba

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