I wanted to make a quick grocery run. It had been a week since they asked us to lock everything down and four full days of staying inside my apartment. On my walk, I passed a familiar café, but there was no echo today, no laughter, and no music. The roads were eerily empty. I walked further down.
Restaurants closed. Cafés empty. Doors bolted. I stopped by one of my favorite ones. “Come inside and have a warm cup of coffee,” the little sign on the gate read. The chairs stood on the tables, upside down, where just four days ago, people sat and laughed and made jokes about the new disease.
No one on the roads. At least, not around me.
At one point, a stranger and I walked toward each other on the empty road and almost instantly started to walk in opposite directions, until we were on too different ends of the sidewalk. She gave me a smile which said, “I’m sorry if I was rude, I can’t walk too close,” and I smiled back with mine. “Don’t worry about it, I understand.” We walked away.
This was a noisy neighborhood, you know? I reached the main road. A police car patrolled up and down, announcing for people to stay away as much as possible and not come out, if at all possible. They stopped me and asked me where I was going. I told them it was a grocery run. They advised me to get it done quickly and go home as soon as I could.
I reached the grocery store. It seemed to have been raided. I could get a loaf of bread from there, and some juice but not the one I liked; we were beyond petty preferences. The helper at the store told me the loaf of bread had my name on it, and that someone had kept it in a different corner and he had just then put it in the right place. I headed back home.
I’m sure it won’t stay this way but, it seems, for the first time, I felt alone not because of some inherent issue within but because there was no one around, literally.
As I reached my place, a familiar dog’s ears perked. He looked at me, puzzled. He turned his head in confusion. He walked towards me and then, jumped. He was excited. I rubbed his head and petted him thoroughly. I have a feeling that he, missed me, missed people.
I realised I, too, missed him, missed people.