And I don’t know how I got here. I have a sneaking suspicion that I stepped through a portal, only I didn’t recognise it as one until I reached this side.
I say this side because the world I’m in now is not the world I remember from a while back, well, perhaps a year or so. Time passes very slowly here.
Before everything made sense, China didn’t hate us, and we had just finished touring some of the most remarkable sights of that very country.
There was no coronavirus and I didn’t fear for my life, and the fact I had a compromised immune system didn’t matter a hoot, except for the constant pain in my lower back and hands, the result of psoriatic arthritis going berserk as I get older.
My grandchildren were in school, alternately loving and hating it, and every Friday I would get one from school and she would tell me how her world was hell, and I had no idea what it was like.
Another would start all her sentences with ‘basically’, and the other would end hers with ‘like’.
I would lament the fact our schools no longer teach proper English, and we could sit around and talk about the YA novel I was writing for them, and that they were the characters in this mythical kingdom. And, yes, they are princesses, if not crotchety one day, and all smiles and goodness the next.
And, in an instant, that whole world was blown away.
Am I angry? I was. A year is too long to be mad at everyone and everything.
Have I a different outlook on life? Yes, I live every day as if it was my last, because the truth is, it just might be.
Can I travel anywhere? No. There’s too much risk in a world where few people under the age of 65 care about consequences.
Is there a reason to live? You may well ask.
I have thought about this often, lying awake in bed every morning, asking myself why I would bother getting up. I can’t go anywhere, I can’t do very much.
We have here an almost remarkable record in keeping the coronavirus at bay, so we have some freedom. We can’t leave the country, and every other month a state or two closes its borders, so travelling outside the state is too risky. The schools are back, and I resumed pick-up duties last Friday, and, yes, the sweetness of the complaints about school life is like music to my ears.
Have I a reason to live? Yes. There are three girls, and grandchildren, one 13, one 16, and one 19. The 13-year-old is in the first year of secondary school, the 16-year-old lamenting the fourth year of secondary school, and the 19-year-old is about to embark on the terrors of tertiary education. She can also drive herself, a shred of independence that has changed her outlook, going from a child to someone more mature.
I hadn’t realized how much their lives were in such a constant state of change. Nor had I realized how much they prefer to tell me about it rather than their parents.
So, the answer to that deep and meaningful question is, is there a reason to live?
Yes. We can have so many things we think are essential to living our lives taken away, but in the end, they are all but superficial. You can lose a car, some of your mobility, a house, or any sort of chattel, but they are insignificant. What matters most, and always will, is family. I’m lucky, and indeed, extremely grateful, to have mine so near.
Now I suppose I should be getting to bed. Tomorrow, I have just been informed, I’m rostered on in what is known as ‘poppy’s taxi’.
And ready to hear the next enthralling episode of school life these days.