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 Seven Hundred Seventy Two

For three days I felt miserable and tired, staying largely abed and in seclusion, venturing out only to eat. My love stayed apart from me, reluctant and distant, masking whenever I came into her presence. I slept well both nights though and on the third day I awoke feeling much better, the congestion in my head dissipating. In truth I felt much worse after each of my inoculations. I had no aches and pains, no deep chills, no nausea. It felt like a cold, something I wouldn’t have given much thought to before the Grippe Reborn returned.

The days themselves were strange and long. My sense of time was out of step, partly because of our travel and partly because of my illness. It felt like a week passed in which I did nothing, barely stirring from the room where I was isolating, alternating between napping and reading. My love lived her own separate life in the next rooms. We would message each other from our phones as if we were separated by more than these walls.

Despite our precautions my love began to experience symptoms, a certain heaviness in her chest and a scratch in her throat. It gradually became a cough and when she tested herself it was positive. It seems most likely she caught the Dread Lord’s touch from me before I realized I was ill. Yesterday she began to feel as I did those first two days, though she still worked having urgent tasks that needed completing. Today she is much the same, but I hope this weekend things will turn for her as they did for me.

For me the Dread Lord has lingered, still with a grasp upon me. I am congested and have developed a cough, but otherwise I feel like a slightly faded version of my normal self. By day’s end my congestion is usually gone and, though I am tired, I tell myself I will be well the next morning, only to wake up with the same congestion again. This morning I was certain I would feel better, my eighth day with the Dread Lord. Instead, he is still there, lurking, much to my frustration.

The week on the whole has grown more and more frustrating. When it was just I who was sick, my wife could still venture out, while masked, if necessity demanded. Now we are both trapped and must rely entirely upon the kindness of others. The weather has been miserable as well, cold and snowy, a taste of February in April. As I write this heavy snow is descending, huge flakes of a kind we only get in spring. I had thought by the time we returned from our travels we would be past all this, but it would seem not. On the one hand it makes our seclusion somewhat more bearable – it is not as though we would be venturing out much if we were healthy – but it does mean we cannot even get a breath of fresh air from our balcony. Some nights it has even been too cold to keep the windows open.

Our weekend will be one of enforced restfulness, which I am strangely looking forward to. How often does one have an excuse to lie about at nothing? I intend to take full advantage and hope that is enough to finally expel the Dread Lord from these premises.

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 Seven Hundred Sixty Eight

At long last, over two years after his arrival in these parts, the Dread Lord Grippe Reborn found me. I had been awaiting the moment, knowing it would happen, especially once the inoculations proved incapable of banishing him entirely. In his latest guise, finding the chinks in the armour of our inoculations and spreading like wildfire as a result, it seemed an inevitability. After two years of knowing only a few people who had been touched by him it suddenly seemed as though I knew dozens.

After two years in the Quarter, my love and I decided to travel to the Old World. It was glorious to be in a different place seeing how others go about their lives, wondering what our lives would be like there. Expanded horizons and the smell of a different place. Somewhere in our wanderings I encountered the Dread Lord. I could not tell you where, though there were times when he seemed to be stalking us. Every metro and train and bus had a coughing person upon it. We took care and masked but one can only take so much care when out among people.

Shortly after my return home I began to feel ill, my nose stuffy and my body a little tired. I told myself it was just from being on a plane for so long – they are such uncomfortable places to be – but when I tested myself I could no longer deny the truth. There was some fear in seeing those results, in wondering what the next days would bring, though I was confident the inoculations would keep me in good stead. There was also a kind of relief. After two years of doing so much to avoid this confrontation, of wondering if it was upon me with every scratch in my throat, now it finally was.

My love was not touched by the Dread Lord, which was a considerable relief. Two of us ill at the same time would have been a struggle. We set about separating our lives within our home – I to one room and her to the rest – hoping that I could spare her whatever suffering awaited me. And that night, for the first time in more than two years we slept apart, a wall separating us. Both of us were too tired to make much note of the occasion. We slept, waiting for the what the morning would bring.

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 Seven Hundred Sixty Five

A dream, hazy like a fading memory, yet sharp with colour and vivid with a reality that drifts away like fog as you enter it.

A dark corner of a crowded restaurant, the hum of conversations floating all around. Peking duck and rice wrappers. Outside the dusk settles around the plastic red lanterns strung across the street busy with people coming and going, laughing and talking.

An ancient ruin now carefully maintained for tourists to wander about. A forgotten old town wall, swallowed upon amidst later constructions as a city blossomed. A house where a heroic general was born who died in a war over these Dominions.

A wide, muddy river, so deep the current is barely visible. Proud buildings stand on either side, memories of a glorious age long past. The city sprawls outward from either bank, endless, consuming all in its path. The sun finds its way through the clouds again.

Mind the gap between the platform and the train. The doors close and you are left behind. You stop by a pier where a queen once disembarked in triumph only to end in ruin, and take a picture, trying to imagine how all that might have been.

A dozen languages spoken on every street you walk down. People from everywhere, all gathered in this one place that wanders along the banks of the great river. There is always something happening and you wish that the dream wouldn’t stop, but you know eventually you will wake up.