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 One Hundred Twenty Four
The sun is bright, the sky clear, hardly a breath of wind stirring, as I drive to the testing station. The traffic is steady, almost a typical midday in the city. I listen to the radio, where for once they are not talking about the dread lord’s presence in the Lost Quarter.
My love was feeling off for a few days and was tested yesterday. Today she feels fine, her symptoms vanished. Likely it was nothing, just one of those weeks that would pass without notice or mention in the time before the grippe reborn returned. Or maybe it was just the generalized dread we all feel on some level, even without being entirely aware of it, manifesting itself.
The testing centre is in the parking lot of a health centre. Men in fluorescent yellow and orange overalls, that must be stiflingly hot on the pavement in the sun, wave vehicles into queues. I go as directed, turn off my car and wait. The minutes tick by and I slowly move closer to the station, which is a large white tent connected to the health centre’s entrance.
The heat radiates off the pavement and concrete of the parking lot, making me drowsy as I wait. As I get closer to the tent I can hear a little girl crying out as they try to take a swab. “No, I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I want to go home.” Nurses move between the vehicles to the centre, wearing face shields, masks and gloves. The girl’s piteous cries continue until I am in the tent.
The test itself is over quickly. A q-tip shoved up my nostril and twisted. It feels as though it is scraping the top of my skull. There are tears in my eyes and my face is contorted into a grimace. The sensation at the top of my head, a probing ache, accompanies me home. In two days I will know.