Clock ticks away. So is my heart pounding. Through the glass of the window pane early rays of the sun are peeping. I yearn to draw the curtains and breathe in the sweet fragrance of the Gardenia flowers outside.
But my fingers tremble. As if striken by an electric current I withdraw my hand. Must find some solace lying in the bed now that no one is here to disturb.
Yesterday’s events crowd my head. First it was the Principal of our training school announcing that we should take part in the school dental visit. We , the staff members, all went into her room.
” It will be unhygienic to treat the students there. ” I spoke slowly but deliberately.
” Then you give health education, screen for treatment needs and come”.
Going in the bus to distant vistas was really fun. The Head master of the school greeted us with warmth.
” When will you have your tea? Now or after work?,”
I started to protest. Then remembering my four students, I added “Around noon, please.”
They were busy arranging the dental chairs in the class room. We swept it cleaned it and organized the equipment.
Then they came. The little grade 4 students. At first there was distrust and inquisitiveness in their little eyes. We told them our mission.
One boy took me by the hand and asked “What is your name?”
I mumbled an answer.
Then, sharp as any thing came the next question. “How old are you?”
” I am fifty three.” ” God forbid us!”
He said with a clap.
The others joined in the fun.
Somehow my students were managing to do their work.
My phone was ringing. Shivanthi, my colleague was at the other end. “Quickly leave the place. Don’t get mingled with the children.” Her voice was shaky.
” Five students have become positive.”
So it was. The dreaded COVID virus had gnawed its menacing claws into our territory.
We were moving around with double masks, but it had won.
I am waiting here with the ticking of the clock. My throat is parched. Do I sense it getting sore ? Or am I hallucinating?
The noodles I had prepared tasted like toothpaste. No smell. No taste. Is it the verdict of the jury?
He is not here. My betrothed. Being a doctor he was summoned to the wards in the night to treat a bad COVID patient.
I have no one to pour out my doubts. No one to seek reassurance. I listen to footsteps. No, they walk past my door.
Ultimately he is here. ” O, stay away!!”
” I have sore throat!” ” So do I, darling.”
He bends down to touch my forehead with his dry lips. It is a magic kiss.