Then there was LOVE
Then there was LOVE
Since March of 2020, life hasn’t been the same. We lost loved ones, we were disconnected from our friends and we couldn’t hang out at the places we usually did. I thought that after 2 years since the pandemic started that life would have gone back to normal and I would have the privilege of visiting my grandmother’s farm. I envisioned myself laying on the grass and eating succulent oranges that she’d been keeping for me as the sun’s rays turned me a shade darker- ahh, the beautiful life of dreamers. Maybe we’d be in the kitchen as she told me stories from her youth around a dying fire. Maybe we’d be swatting mosquitoes away as we watched the beautiful orange sun set as the lake reflected its last rays of light. Or maybe, if I got the chance, I’d even be visiting my grandfather, who was now living in Winsted.
Now, I once again find myself in the throes of Covid- this time Omicron- and in total isolation. Any hope I had of visiting her went out the window with the news of how rapidly the new variant was spreading, and at her age I didn’t want to put her at risk of further complications with her health. Sometimes I feel like my grandmother is the only person who truly understands me, and the fact that I couldn’t see her for the second year in a row only made my loneliness more overwhelming.
Days blurred into one as every day I repeated the same pattern of waking up close to noon, binging shows, eating whatever leftovers I had and going back to bed. Every day as I made my midday coffee, all I could think about was my grandmother- how was the weather where she was? I hadn’t brought her anything for a while- was there anything she needed? How does she feel now that I haven’t visited her in nearly two years? I pushed these questions to the back of my mind and focused on using my leave to enjoy myself as much as I could within the confines of my home.
Like everyone else, I welcomed the new year with a sense of hesitant enthusiasm. I felt like it was going to be an unpredictable year; between political drama and the ever-changing pandemic, who could foresee what this year would bring us? The uncertainty was apparent in the weather; January, a usually dry and sunny month, was plagued with clouds and heavy rain. I felt like I hadn’t rested a single day since I took my leave. January was coming to an end faster than I could have imagined and I felt like the world was moving on without me.
With Valentine’s day coming in two weeks, love was in the air. I’d watch stories about people’s plans for February 14th. I’d scroll through posts about one celebrity or another rumored to be getting married or engaged in two weeks’ time. Old tweets about Valentine’s rituals began to resurface- one of the people I followed had publicly proposed to his girlfriend with a band and hundreds of red roses a few years ago. And as such, I scrolled through social media for hours every night in bed, the feeling of disconnect growing with every like I left.
At work one morning, I overheard some of my colleagues talk about sending gift hampers to their significant others for Valentine’s Day. Gift hampers? An idea began to materialize in my mind. If I couldn’t visit my grandmother, the only person who loved me selflessly and unconditionally, at least there was a way to show her that she was still in my thoughts. I asked my colleague to send me the link for the website they were talking about.
During my lunch break, I pasted the link she had sent me onto my browser; e-mart.co.ke and decided on the gift hamper I wanted to send. With so many choices, I deliberated for a while about what she’d like the most that wouldn’t be exorbitantly priced. As much as I love my grandmother, during my break I had devised my list of new year’s resolutions and at the first agenda was to save more and spend less. And after all the money I had spent over the holiday, it’s not like I had much to spend anyway. Fortunately, it didn’t take long before I had already placed my order and payment was confirmed. That evening, I went home with a sense of elation. Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier?
The next morning, I received a call from my grandmother at work. She’s not one to express much gratitude, but I could tell from the sound of her voice that she was excited by the gifts. Needless to say, the fact that I was slowly making up for my absence in a way that wasn’t putting her health at risk put me in a much better mood than I had been in in weeks.
That evening I decided to put my newfound zest for life into a new recipe. It was Valentine’s Day after all, and I felt like I deserved something special. As I was in the middle of seriously botching the recipe, I heard a knock on my front door. On my way to open it I put on my mask and hoped that the smell of smoke wouldn’t be too obvious to my unexpected guest. I opened the door to reveal a man standing in front of me with a large parcel in his arms. “Good evening, I'm John from E-mart Kenya. I have a delivery for you”, he said with a smile (he was wearing a mask, but I could tell from his eyes that he was smiling). I was confused- what I has ordered from e-mart.co.ke had already been received by my Valentine. I hadn’t ordered anything for myself, and my grandmother had already called to say that she had received her gift. As I was about to tell this gentleman that he must have the wrong house, I felt my phone vibrate in my hand. Opening my notifications, I saw a text that read;
“Hello dearest, I know we haven’t seen each other in years now, but I thought I would send you a little something to remind me that you’re still the apple of my eye. Love, your grandfather.”