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 Sixty Three

There have been many remembrances in these last weeks as people recall the moment when the grippe reborn arrived and everything changed. Though the dread lord arrived in these parts in late February, perhaps even earlier, and the first reports of his presence were in early March, this was the week when it felt like everything changed. There were hastily announced quarantine strictures as governments frantically tried to stop a tide that had already washed over us all.

It was not unexpected. From the end of January the dread lord’s march had felt inevitable. My love and I had cancelled our travels, anticipating just such a march. That he would reach the Quarter was only a matter of time, yet it still seemed as though it would be a long while until he made his way to these parts. For a while that was true. The outbreaks in Japan and Korea were unsurprising given their proximity to China. Though it seems ludicrous now, I honestly believed that grippe reborn would spread slowly out from these places to nearby locales, reaching other major centres where there was significant amounts of travel.

But the dread lord was much more powerful. By the time those first outbreaks were noticed, others were already being seeded. Italy. Iran. New York. As March came the news grew worse and worse. And then came this week when it suddenly became clear to everyone that the grippe reborn was everywhere. He had crossed all borders before anyone had noticed and was present. No one would be able to escape his wrath.

That shift, from thinking we would have to plan for this inevitable, but sometime in the future, arrival to the realization that the call was coming from inside the house was completely disorienting. Even then I tried to reason my way back to some sort of stability, an utterly futile exercise. This will only be a few months, I told myself, and then things will be under control. But it quickly became painfully evident that was not to be.

The suddenness of the shift was symbolized for me by a sign advertising a St. Patrick’s Day party that a local bar had put up. The party never happened, of course, but for weeks afterwards as my love and I went past the bar on our walks the sign was still there. A reminder of a world that might have been if not for the dread lord. The sign stayed up even into the summer when other establishments opened up. The bar never did though. It remains shuttered, it’s windows darkened.

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