People queuing in the supermarket

My Diary in the Time of Coronavirus

By Najat

It was the first week of June. It was nearly three months and more since the first lockdown began, and I had completely abided by the coronavirus rules. Throughout this period I never left my home, even to do the shopping, which bothered me. It became like a pink dream that caressed my imagination all the time.... and I started to envy my husband whenever he went shopping. Finally I decided, “Our little one's birthday is approaching; I want to go shopping so we can celebrate his birthday.”

My husband thought for a moment and then he said, “Okay, so tomorrow we go.”

I was happy the whole time, dreaming about the supermarket and the roads leading to it. I could even imagine people’s anxious faces. “What have you done to us, wretched Corona?”
I woke up excited and apprehensive. We got dressed and set off, after putting on masks and plastic gloves, and our constant companion, of course, was always ‘hand sanitiser’.

Through the window of the car, I was staring at the streets as if I was seeing them for the first time. London, the living city which never sleeps, looked alone, cold and silent like the silence of the dead. The streets were so empty that they made me afraid, but in spite of everything, I was still excited.

We arrived at Sainsbury's Fulham Wharf, and this giant store that always used to be crowded like a beehive was almost empty... But in spite of all this I was still enthusiastic.
We shopped very carefully, after cleaning the trolley with Dettol always keeping a ‘social’ distance of course …

Finally, we completed ‘our mission’, and headed towards the check out. My husband stood in the queue at the sign showing the safe distance between people, and apparently, he accidentally pushed his trolley forward too far. A young man was putting his items on the checkout belt. Suddenly he turned around and shouted to my husband, “Move away! Don’t get closer! Keep a safe distance.”

My husband was shocked. He looked at him calmly and said, “Look, I am standing on the mark, and I am wearing my mask as well.”
The young man shouted, "What about your trolley? It’s almost sticking to my trolley.”
My husband said smiling, “Unfortunately, we left its mask at home. Are you serious man??”
And then the young man got angry and started shouting, “This is a dangerous time! It’s a pandemic! And everyone must stick to the rules ...”
The shop assistant looked up at us with a silent apology. I was watching my husband's face. I knew that his patience was running out. The young man had almost finished, when my husband approached him and said firmly, “Listen, thank you very much for your interesting show. We enjoyed your performance a lot, and when you transfer to the West End, we’ll come and see you there.”

The young man stared at my husband, He could see how angry he was, looking at his red face. He wanted to say something, but he did not dare. My husband looked straight at him, adding sternly, “Not one more word, or I will hug you to show how much we really enjoyed your dazzling talent.”

I could not stop myself smiling. I imagined the poor young man who was afraid of our trolley, being hugged by a stranger in the middle of Coronavirus. I looked at the shop assistant and we both burst out laughing, and without a word, the young man pushed his trolley away and disappeared with lightning speed!

Then I felt furious with Coronavirus, which makes people fearful and anxious... and angry at the bad luck that threw this person in our way. My happy outing was ruined, and I went back home to get bored and watch the news about rising new cases again!