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 Thirty Three

The sun is bright, the day is warm and beckoning, my plants are sprouting green shoots up through the earth, and yet all I feel is a cold, withering chill. Something sits upon my chest, a weight that cannot be borne. It follows me wherever I go, shadowing my thoughts. It is there and not, like the grippe reborn, a presence without substance.

I go to the window and stare out at the clear blue sky, watching birds in flight, but it all leaves me empty. I stare at people going by, at ease and at their pleasure, and I feel nothing. There is an ache in my head and a tingling numbness creeping into the tips of my fingers.

My love is laughing in another room at something or other. Normally that would bring a smile to my lips, but not today. I barely hear it, my thoughts are elsewhere.

I recall as a young man I worked for a time on the family smallholding. We had pieces of land spread far across that lonely part of the Lost Quarter. Often I was tasked with moving this or that between them, or going out to fetch whoever was working the fields that day to return them home. I have always been poor with directions though and frequently lost myself on the trails and pathways I had to take, all of them looking the same to me, lined by fields and pastures and the odd habitation, the plains stretching on for as far as the eye could see.

These places all had names, though the meaning of them was lost to me, and the markers they referred to were long vanished. There was Millers, so named for the wheat mill that had once stood somewhere on that land. Glover’s Lake, a former beach spot where a famous glover from Sweden had set up shop and sold his finery to all those who passed their Sunday afternoons by the water. The Lease, referring to some land bartered from one cousin to another of no relation to my people. The Old Place, which I have already mentioned, and where nothing now stood.

How was I to sort out these far-flung places? It was my grandmother who did so, drawing me a map, marking the roads and the places, noting the landmarks I would pass. I kept it with me at all times, folded in one of my pockets. Whenever I was lost I would pull it out and study it and somehow I would be able to figure out where I was and the direction home. 

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