As many of you will know from my previous post, I am packing up The Cave after living there for almost ten years to move back to my folks because Dad is ill, although coping very well – something for which we’re all very grateful.
In the clean-up, I came across a postcard that Charlie sent me for my birthday one year, while he was sailing in Alaska. It read “Hello there, from the other side of the planet. Happy birthday. I hope you get a jam-filled cake.” I read it, smiled, reminisced for a moment, and then placed it in a bag with other papers for recycling. After all, it’d been years since our paths split. He got married last year on October 8th Shannon, the blonde American who swept him off his feet in just three days of meeting him. He felt bad, but ‘the heart wants what the heart wants’. When I happened upon the wedding photos on her Insta (it wasn’t difficult to track her down), I finally summoned the will to delete our entire chat history of almost two years, along with his number. I felt an inexplicable numbness, a tiny tinge of horror, and a pinch of relief. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the feelings I was having, weren’t ‘it’.
It’s all fun and games until COVID-19 touches you on a more direct level. One of my friends that works away was tested as part of a mandatory reaction plan his employers had in place. He tested positive, despite showing no symptoms. He didn’t fall ill during his isolation period either. According to the doctors, he is one of the very few lucky ones. He is now waiting for this third set of swabs and blood tests to come back negative, while plans are trying to be made to get him back to SA. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about him and his colleagues. It has me wondering though – how many of us may be infected, but are asymptomatic?
Today I realized that I’m a little freaked out by Maltese Poodles and way too many of my friends have big dogs that sleep on their backs with their junk on display for everyone to see. I’m not sure if I should be laughing or crying that my friends photograph canine testicles and post them on social media.
I was at work today, but I may as well not have been. I woke up to news from Charlie that the ship on which he works has been exposed to COVID-19. Isolation and quarantine are imminent. I am sad, anxious, and unable to concentrate. He was so close to returning home (albeit it to self-isolation here).
I can only hope that he isn’t infected and that once the mandatory quarantine has passed, the airlines will have resumed their international and regional flights that he can get home.
I thought a lot about death over the weekend following Mr. Doeps’s memorial service on Friday. Even though I don’t know his wife well and his children at all, I couldn’t help but think he was a few months older than The Bean (who is 73) and she’s a few months older than The Toppie (72). My brain then fixated on Psalm 90:10:
“The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.”
I heard of the passing of a retired, former colleague this morning. Just last night, as I was about to turn over, I said to myself I wonder how he’s doing. He had been ill for quite a while, following a heart attack, after which a myriad of treatment-related issues followed. It was inevitable that he would never be the jovial man he had been before the cardiac arrest, but the news has still left me feeling awfully sad.