No More in Isolation: a draft from March 2021

*7.33 pm* Killin’ in on Hump Day!

I came across one of my drafts from my early days in Sheffield and felt like it didn’t deserve to be a draft, so here it is.

*11.33 am* Isolation ended last night and I dragged three heavy bags, four floors up to the room that I’m renting for a year. I wanted to treat myself for doing well through my 10-day post-arrival alone-in-the-whole-building-with-nary-a-human-to-speak quarantine, so I picked up a meal of chicken and chips at Nando’s, a popular south-African joint. As I walked the empty, ghostly streets of an 8 in the evening-almost-the-end of covid-mid-march-Sheffield, I was nothing short of spooked. I would look up because there was so much to see but worry about all the strangers and look down. I mean, I’m only first-time-so-far-away-from-home-and-alone, learning, observing and looking everywhere all at once with fascinated, shiny eyes. People are unfamiliar, foreign and as per my animal instinct, obviously not safe.

Like a scared deer, I walked quietly, and didn’t flinch when got myself to a cash machine, did pretty well with crossing the streets too, and went up to to the waitress like I would back home. She packed me a nice meal and I was completely fine all of a sudden. How quickly it happened was confusing. I got my food and decided to no-more map-follow and panic-walk back home. I decided to enjoy my walk back so I sat by the City Hall and ate my chicken and chips near the water fountain where some roller skaters practised their moves around me as rock music from songs I didn’t know blasted on a speaker they had, in the background.

NB: This Nando’s is in the same building where I’ve ‘unknowingly’ ended up renting an apartment a couple months ago (my second year in Sheff). Have I unknowingly come back to the place I started my story in this city? Who knows, but it sure feels like a connection.


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