I used to ask my grandma about World War II, and she’d tell me she hardly remembered it, she was so young. But on her seventh birthday, she remembers being devastated: her special day was ruined because she didn’t get a birthday cake.
“Rations,” she says, by way of explanation. “We didn’t have any flour.”
Mum has been bugging me to keep a journal, because we’re living through history, because this is what our grandkids will ask about. It’s important, she says. I suppose I should give it a go.
Wake up. 9am. Scroll for a while. Shower. Breakfast. The usual. You know how it goes.
And I have to admit, the brave doctors and nurses aren’t always on my mind. I rarely think about the bus drivers, the grocery workers, the teachers. Am I callous? I don’t check the news, I check Netflix for new shows. I take a long bath, try to think of other ways to cross off each long hour of an endless day. Go for a walk, read, change my outfit, look out the window. I’m getting desperate. I decide to bake a cake but soon realise that we don’t have any flour. This will probably be the hardest part of my day.
This isn’t history, what I’m living. In fifty years, my grandkids will open their textbooks and read about the tents lining Central Park, the brave medical workers risking their lives every day, the politicians (leaders or cowards), the stock market.
“Grandma, where were you during the pandemic?” they’ll ask.
“If you read your textbook carefully, you’ll spot me, hiding in the white spaces between the lines of text. The cracks, the crevices. I hardly remember it at all.” Then, as an afterthought, “Sometimes we would run out of flour.”
10pm. Pyjamas. Teeth. Quick scroll. Say goodnight, turn out the lights. Smile. Fight. Cry. Live. Survive. Whatever.