Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Twenty Two

How this enforced confinement brings the urge to wander. And so I do, ignoring the miserable weather as best I can. Spring in the Lost Quarter is so often miserable, vanishing into winter at a moment’s notice, before finally relenting into summer. I long for that day to come.

Every chance encounter with a stranger contains within it a fraught moment where you wonder if they have their letters of transit about them, if they will chance to pass too near, or what their purpose is in being about. You pass each other, careful to keep your distance, sharing an uneasy smile, and go about your business feeling a wash of relief that you hate.

It is strange though. I notice people far more than I did before. Their expressions, their movements. Before I would have let them pass by without a second glance. Now I drink them in.

This morning I came across two men huddled close together alongside a building. They were murmuring to each other, though they fell silent and watched me as I approached. A single glance told me they carried no letters of transit, but I did not report them to the authorities. I could tell they had trouble enough in their lives without me adding to their miseries. Later I came upon an old woman, bent by age. She had paused along the walkway before an empty lot. She had a walker with a saddle which she was sitting in, staring out expressionless at the lot and the row of houses visible beyond it. I have the sense that she has been there some time. I hesitated as I went by, pondering whether to inquire after her well-being. Before I could make up my mind, she clambered to her feet, shuffling behind the walker, and began to push it forward, her eyes cast down on the sidewalk in front of her.

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