I’m still here. Meaning, in Vienna. Travel is pretty much non-existent at the moment, and it’s absolutely impossible for me to get back home. Which sucks, because I’m paying double rent on a reduced income with so much fewer proofreading and translation work now that companies and universities are closed all over the place, whilst everything I love most about Vienna is denied to me anyway: the people, the music, the theatres, and the museums and galleries and nightlife.
On the plus side, I’m healthy and safe and have food to eat. It could be a lot worse. It’s just that it would be better in my kućica, for reasons such as:
- Now that the days are getting milder, I could step out into the garden in the morning and walk around barefoot in the dewy grass.
- I could cuddle Kiki the kitty, who loves visiting me at home.
- I could walk to the front of the house and see the bay. I miss the sea sooooo much.
- I’d practice the piano. And then, with reckless abandon, practice again the next day! The luxury.
- I’d remember that music sounds great when you can actually hear the bass. In other words, through speakers rather than a laptop.
I just thought the other day how cruel it is that two months into being the European Capital of Culture, Rijeka was cut off from tourist visits and forbidden from actually going ahead with all those cultural events. The same goes for Galway, of course. I hope they’ll allow both towns to make up for it somehow, maybe move everything forward so they can be Capitals of Culture in 2021?
Because I don’t know how soon this will be over. I don’t see things changing much until at least June, and we may be looking at most of the summer as well. It’s a scary thought, although I’m doing well so far. I’m just not sure what prolonged isolation will do to me. Touch is important. I just thought back, and the last time I hugged a human being was three weeks ago when I visited Kati. It seems a lifetime ago already.
I know of couples who are stranded on different continents. Others who simply don’t live together and now can’t see each other at all. I don’t have any of those problems, and like I said, I’m dealing with it all pretty well so far. But that’s just the thing.
There’s no doubt I’m good at being alone, as you may remember if you’ve known me for a while: So good, in fact, that for years on end I had isolated myself completely and been quite “happy” – except that I was actually in a mild depression and had kicked people out of my life.
My problem is not that I struggle, it’s how easy it is for me to be by myself. How the numbness beckons. I remember the ecstasy of coming back to life during that enchanted spring of 2016, connecting to people again, meeting friends, drowning in a lover’s arms… – and how I swore to myself I’d never stop feeling my feelings again.
And yet, here I am.
It’s been just over four years and I remember it well. I must be very careful, remind myself to keep reaching out to people, keep talking, messaging, send virtual hugs in the absence of actual ones, and use my body to ground myself, because that’s the key to everything I am, even when it ends up looking rather undignified and silly:
I hope you’re all holding up, wherever you are, that you and your loved ones are healthy, and that you’re coping with all the material and emotional fallout. We need to stay connected, support each other, create, and be as happy as we can.
And hope to the gods that this mess will be over soon.
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