I was not feeling well. This had been my life for the past one week and it had not been pleasant. My throat was raw from coughing, my nose constantly runny and I couldn’t even open my eyes. My lungs felt like they were on fire. I shifted a bit to breathe easily through my open mouth already devouring the air around me. Suddenly, the fever spiked and my body became extremely hot. Sweat beads formed all over my face as I wheezed and sneezed into the handkerchief. Corona. That was what had happened to me. I was the one to bear the blame for this. I had argued and shouted at my parents to go just once to meet my friends. It had been a year since I had last seen them. My parents tried to explain the situation to me, but I refused to listen. We ate outside and perhaps by some twist of fate, probably wanting to prove my parents right, I became Corona positive (which is a negative thing to happen). The dread that I had felt was unprecedented. Everyone knew how deadly the disease was and how, many people who had succumbed to it had eventually embraced death. So all I could think of was, how to spend these days for they might end up being my last.
I hated diseases and I hated being unwell or feeling weak. To top that off, I overthought every single thing. When Corona had just started attacking the world, I had got a bit of cold and I spent almost the first half of the night thinking I had Corona and I would die from it. But this time it was Corona for real. And even though I have been through that thoughts-affect-your-mind-and-health-so-you-should-be-positive phase, my mind just automatically latched on to the worst-case scenario. So, while my body was fighting the disease, I had to fight my mind.
As I lay on my bed thinking about this, numbness started setting into my hands and feet. Panic set in and my heart rate increased. My hands and feet were cold, despite the spiking fever. Didn’t the body become cold when someone died? No, no, that’s after death. I am still alive. Numbness set it when blood stopped flowing. What if my arteries are blocked?!! No, it can’t be. No, shut up mind. I took a deep breath and tried to think of all sorts of happy things and ended up half praying and half imagining blood flowing to my hands and feet as if I could will it to happen.
“Supriya? Are you awake dear?”, my mom’s pleasant voice flowed through the door. The door opened a bit and my mom’s worried face popped in. As soon as she saw that I was awake, she morphed her face into a too-happy smile.
“Oh! You are awake! Good. I prepared this favorite dish of yours. Come on then have it. You will certainly feel better,” she said with that smile plastered on her face.
I wanted to scream and scratch myself for making my mother worry so much about me. I could see that fear and worry beneath the forced smile. But me crying would make her sadder, so I swallowed my grief and guilt and tried to nod.
She checked my temperature and I heard a gasp which she tried to cover up by trying to behave as though that gasp was because she read the temperature wrong. But she had read it right. I was sure my body temperature was so high that it had racked her. I again wanted to hit and curse myself for making her go through this. Suddenly, the numbness didn’t matter. I had to get well if only so that I would see my family happy again. Although I didn’t see my dad and brother much, I knew their worry was but a reflection of my mom. So I kept my mouth shut about my numbness and gingerly ate how much ever I could, trying to fight the fatigue. I had barely finished a quarter of a roti, but my mom behaved as though I had finished four of them.
“Wow! Your appetite is increasing. That’s great! You will get well in no time now,” she encouraged.
She immediately went and washed her hands and then brought me the necessary tablets. After she checked everything once again, she left my room and I let the tears flow. Each tear that traced a hot line down my face was a whiplash at my heart. I had made my family go through this. I had not listened to them yet they never left my side. They were always optimistic and here I was losing all hope because of numbness. For the umpteenth time, I wondered if I deserved such good people in my life. The tears kept falling.
Somewhere in between, I fell asleep crying. I was woken up by a hesitant knock at the door. I quickly touched my cheeks to see if they were dry. I didn’t want my family to suffer more because of me. They had had enough. The door opened and my little brother peeked out from behind.
“Didi? How are you today? I heard that you ate more than yesterday,” he said and started fidgeting with his fingers as he came inside.