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Dear Covid 19

Dear COVID-19,

 

I first heard of you making your presence known in Wuhan. Back then, I didn’t think much of you. I don’t think much of the world did. I was planning a family trip that we would be going on for the first time in 7 years. My parents are getting old and I was not sure if this might be one of our last trips together. 

 

You were the new kid on the block few really cared about.

Barely 2 months later, you landed yourself in various parts of the world. You travelled more extensively than any of us can ever hope to do in our lifetime. I still held on to the last thread of hope, naively thinking that you would leave and things would improve. It got progressively worse. I cancelled my trip and thought bitterly about you. 

 

You were the uninvited spoilsport who ruined everyone’s plans.

By the following month, you had exploded in our faces, all because we didn’t give you the attention you needed. You took away many loved ones, most places closed, streets were deafeningly quiet, and people fought with new-found struggles behind closed doors. We dealt with pay cuts and forced leave. 

 

You were the unanticipated wrecking ball that didn’t plan on stopping soon.

Time slowed down. We adjusted. I cooked more. My marriage strengthened. My husband and I learnt how to live with a new work-life balance, quite literally. It took me this period of seeing him 24/7 to see how giving he is in the little things he does around the house. Absence of our families makes the heart fonder so we took quality time online. We sang birthday songs over FaceTime. We connected to connect. Food deliveries became our expression of love. We found solidarity in this difficulty by donating and volunteering and getting together to sing and clap across HDB blocks. 

It took me this period of seeing my husband 24/7 to see how giving he is in the little things he does around the house.

You became the terrible lesson that brought out the best in some of us, and reminded us of what we have.

As we still try to coax you to leave, you have undeniably changed many things in your wake. You opened our eyes to a new normal. Who knows, perhaps you have really healed Earth by keeping us all indoors. 2020 has become quite the year with you around. You made us realise that we are stronger than we think we are. We will continue to grow and adapt, thanks to you. 

 

And out of the many things that you are, I hope you will become nothing more than history soon.

Hayley Teo

26 May 2020