Apocalyptic

It’s been less than a week, but already it feels like the walls are closing in.

I know that, like many, I speak from a place of privilege. I have food in the kitchen. My family is with me, and we have the medicines we need. I have resources so I can work in the comfort of my own home, and I live in a gated village in the suburbs, so I can go for a jog or take my son biking if we’re feeling cooped up.

But that doesn’t erase how trapped I feel.

This feeling doesn’t come from being cooped up here at home. I don’t even feel cooped up, really.

This feeling comes from daily dread. How many will test positive for the coronavirus today? How many will die?

This feeling comes from daily confusion. What new version of this lockdown will the government announce? What are the new guidelines that will say we can’t go anywhere or do anything? What strange new rules will they badly implement this time.

This feeling comes from sadness.

Tonight, I saw my friend Nino sing his heart out as he played the guitar, and then the piano. I realized that this was the first time I had ever heard him sing, and it took this crisis for me to witness his amazing talent.

Tonight, as my friend’s voice soared over my speakers, I saw other friends cheering him on and requesting more songs, and I thought, a few months ago, we could all have been in some bar, sharing drinks and cracking jokes, and Nino could be on a stage instead of in front of a camera at home.

Tonight, Nino sang some beautiful songs, and I wept at the state of this world.

This feeling comes from worry. While my mother is here with me, my brother is in Antipolo, and right now that could be the other end of the world considering all these confusing quarantine guidelines that tell us we should stay home. I know he’s a healthy, capable young man, but I have over thirty years of experience worrying about him, and this crisis has me imagining all sorts of catastrophes happening to him.

This feeling comes from loneliness. I don’t know when I’m going to see Dante again. I don’t know when I’m going to see our other friends again. They could be in Makati or Taguig or Quezon City, and just like Antipolo, those places could be at the other end of the world.

This feeling comes from fear. There are reports of multiple Persons Under Investigation or Persons Under Monitoring in villages near ours, and I can’t help but think, it’s only a matter of time. Then it’ll be PUMs or PUIs right here in our village. Maybe here on our street.

It’s been less than a week, but already it feels like the walls are closing in.

I try to avoid it, but my head is filled with scenes from Battlestar Galactica, where the only humans left alive are wandering in space, and the enemy lurks within their ranks. Images from The Walking Dead keep popping into my mind unbidden, and I try not to think of deserted malls, or of baby Judith and how she survived without her mother.

It’s been less than a week, but already I wonder what fresh hell tomorrow will bring.

I hate this feeling.

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