2021 Shortlisted

Francesco Vicenzi – The Only Way Out is Through

By June 16, 2021 No Comments

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It isn’t until I burn my dinner on a Friday night that it suddenly dawns on me.
I can usually smell if my cooking is running amok. Now I’m looking at a pan of cauliflower heads: charcoal on the bottom and alabaster on top.

It is there in black and white. I have lost my sense of smell.
Shortly after, the phone rings. My test returns positive for COVID-19.

Then, my wife and 14-month-old daughter tested positive too.

We shrug. The only way out is through.

Intellectually, I am not worried about my condition. I am in my mid-30s, generally in good health and my symptoms are mild, but I also suffer from clinical anxiety, which is not a rational creature. I struggle to rein in my catastrophic mind.

Isolation gives you an abundance of time to ruminate and reflect, travel back in time, and process things you thought were buried.

Having lost my mother to cancer when I was just six, the uncertainty of the situation has unearthed memories I’d long suppressed.
From behind a steamed-up window, I observe my young family playing in the backyard. It all appears so fragile and ephemeral.

Army people check on us daily, sometimes twice a day. Melbourne is snoozing in stage 4 lockdown torpor as I watch a curve in a graph struggling to be pulled downwards day after day.
One day a nurse visits to take our blood; it feels strange to have someone in PPE in your home.
But then two weeks have gone by, and we all feel fine again.
The Department of Health rings.
Our isolation has ended.

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