I forgot about social distancing the moment she arrived

Saturday May 30 2020

 

By Philip Matogo

At 6.30pm sharp, my phone rang. It was my girlfriend, Julie.

I liked her a lot.
Non-confrontational yet non-conformist: that was Julie.
The only thing bitchy about her were the dog-eared books about feminism she read over and over.

But these books didn’t fill her with anger. Instead, they made her gaze poetically into my eyes with an understanding of my ‘shortcomings.’

Thus, to her, my faults were really like the short version of the poet Cummings.
Terrible joke, I know.

“Hello, my love, I am about 15 minutes away from your place. Is there anything I should bring along with me?” she asked over the phone.

Surprised, I reeled back from my cell.
I mean, I didn’t expect her to come over on this day and at this time. Because 7pm was curfew, and that meant she would be sleeping over. To make things worse, she might be Covid-19 positive.

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I didn’t know where she had been all day. She might have been minding her own business in Ntinda, where she lives, and then: Hatchoo! Some guy with flu-like symptoms sneezes as she breathes in.

And the fat would be in the fire.
Now she was coming home. For a threesome of her, I and her potentially newly infected self.
“Well? What do you want from the shops?” she asked again.

I stay in Kyanja and she had walked all the way from Ntinda, so telling her that I was not home would be cruel. Besides, with only moments to go before curfew, she would think I was at my non-existent side dish’s place.

“Bring me a coke and some chips,” I replied.
“Okay, be there in 15,” she said.
As a number of empty thoughts chugged through my mind like an express train to nowhere, I heard a knock on my door.

It was Julie.
She wore a sleeveless T-shirt above tight leggings, which accented her body to an hourglass silhouette in the dying sun. It was time to start socialising the distance between us.

So I scooped her into my arms and planted a wet one on her lips.

Boom!
A few days later, I had the flu and my nose started running, man, like MC Hammer in the 90s.
I would sneeze and my nose would expand to the size of two giant nostrils trumpeting bad times ahead.

Then my eyes would well up as my throat seemed to rupture into several Adam’s apples upset on a cart wheeling my corpse morgue-ward.

It was excruciating.
Before Julie had slept over, I took every precaution to make sure I didn’t get ill.

Each time I’d be out walking and I’d see more than two people on my side of the pavement, I would cross the road to the other side of the road.

Then walk on the pavement from that side. So I kept crisscrossing the road to be on the pavement less travelled.

I was like the human equivalent of a reverse fart, migrating back to the ‘butt’ of a single person and away from the ‘but why?’ of polite company.

Anyway, Julie’s overnight at my place left me coughing like a hefty pay check.

So I’ve decided to quarantine with Julie. According to my Maths, if we both have Covid-19…it will add up to Covid-38.

Which will leave us both cured.
They call it herd immunity, I hear. But “they” also call me a full blown idiot, toothy tribe to avoid wrangles.

That is how Cuthbert Obwangor from Teso, who had been widely expected to become president, missed out. You know, Obote was a gifted speaker. He could convince you to eat a rat.”

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