Covid-19 strikes closer home, leaving just memories

Image: Pixabay

One of the effects of the lockdown has been me watching a lot of television, Netflix to be precise. The best thing about it is not needing to wait for tomorrow and/or next week to find out what happens in the next episode. You can binge watch to your heart's content.

Two of the gems I found are The Blacklist and Queen of the South. Both are dramas based on crime.

One of the common things in both is methods of interrogation when gangs suspect one of being an enemy or a spy. Gruesome torturous methods of pulling out teeth one by one or breaking fingers off one by one and then in the end, killing them anyway.

This week, after the death of yet one more person I knew, this is what I felt about life and the year 2020. This year feels like a drug cartel that tortures its enemies, breaking our hearts bit by bit with each "rest in peace".

Last week Thursday I went to therapy as per usual, and it was a particularly good session. I came out beaming, full of plans and resolutions, until I got in the car and checked my phone.

I was shattered. A young man I have known from high school had died, due to Covid-19. I hadn't spoken to him in years, just an occasional comment and like on social media. For a short while, I felt like a fraudster at how broken I was over his death.

Firstly, I cannot believe it has been 20 years since my last year in high school. What a wonder it is that our brains can store memories from 20 years ago and when needed offer them back to you.

I have been sifting through these memories for a few days now and I remember the very first time I met him. I don't know if winter school for matriculants still exists but that is where I met him all those years ago, in the winter of the year 2000.

For the rest of the year I would be besotted with him. We were both in boarding school and over school holidays I would run up a huge bill on our landline calling him daily for an hour. At some point my dad called the number to see who it was I was spending so much time on the phone with.

We would each prepare 'skhafthins' at home and then swap them when we got to school. He was in a boys' school and I at a girls' school but the boys always loitered around the girls' school on days when we returned to boarding.

I went through a gazillion memories in the few days that he has been dead and while we had lost contact recently, I know now why we met and were drawn to each other. We met at a place where people where out partying every night. But I was an awkward fat girl who didn't always feel like she belonged and he, a boy with bad acne that made him retract into himself. He still had the most infectious joy and laughter that was absolutely loveable, exactly what I needed in that moment. If the president and the ministry of health is right we will lose about 40,000 to 50,000 lives by the time this virus is done with us. I won't be the only one going through my memory bank.

I hope you reach out now while you still can to your old friends.

Never forget how people impacted our lives. Recognise that sometimes you are put in spaces where you can immortalise others, and so I must say loudly in print, rest in peace Gregory Lebogang Bopelonomi Ngwenya. You were loved, and yours like the many lives lost, mattered my old friend.

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