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 Three Hundred Nineteen

One of the strange things about our struggles with the grippe reborn in these parts is that the dread lord is mostly an unseen foe. Though the numbers of those he touched was rising precipitously in December, it was still a small part of the total population of the Quarter. Many, including myself and my love, know no one here directly who has suffered from his dread powers. Those who do suffer do so hidden away, isolated in their homes or secure wings of hospitals where no one can see them.

That has, naturally, made it harder for many to see the need to maintain their vigilance in the face of the dread lord’s depredations. If you know no one who has been affected, then it is a simple thing to pretend that there is nothing to fear. For me it increases the sense of dread, for the dread lord is out there, operating unseen. If there was tangible evidence of his works it would be a strange kind of comfort. Then I could see what he has wrought and put a face and a name to it. Though it would change nothing about the nature of his power, it would make it explicable in a way.

My love has friends and family the world over, some in the Eastern Dominions, some in the United States, some far overseas and a number have them have suffered from the dread lord’s touch. A daughter of a friend had a fever, but otherwise was fine and the rest of the family did not fall ill. A friend, early on in the ordeal, was so ill she had to be hospitalized. Another friend lost a sibling and a sister in law to the dread lord. She too was touched and though her case was deemed mild she still, two months later, suffers from pain in her chest and shortness of breath.

It is easy to grow inured to the mounting numbers that come out each day. A thousand more touched by the dread lord, hundreds in the hospital and hundreds more fallen. They are just numbers with no context. How do we make ourselves realize that each of them represents a life. That their suffering was uniquely theirs, different from any others, regardless of the outcome, each of them a story worth telling. It is a hard thing to do. Much easier to keep our distance and let them stay empty numbers.  

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