None of us had anything in common, except that we had to be tested.
Picture for illustration. Picture: Jacques Nelles
If I had to guess, I’d say the woman who was in front of me in the queue was about 65. But an old 65.
You know that look – when someone looks like they’ve been 65 for two decades.
One of the clinic staff handed out forms. I already had mine, filled in and everything. The old woman in front of me didn’t have a pen, so I lent her mine.
She struggled to stand, so it seemed natural that she made the only chair her own.
It was one of those horrible, cheap, black plastic chairs that – like vermin – have taken over every cheap hall and funeral parlour everywhere.
It was easier for her to fill in the form sitting down. She smiled warmly at me and her rough, black granite face
seemed to smooth out beautifully when she thanked me for the pen.
I was, however, quite taken aback by the fear in her voice.
In front of her was a couple on their way abroad. Loud people in their fifties, I’d say – you know those people who feel obliged, or perhaps compelled, to talk to strangers in a queue.
They’ve obviously been married a lifetime and perhaps they just yearn for different company.
Or maybe they just feel better about themselves when they can show off their wealth.
I was tempted to ask “What if…?” but I could see they were nervous enough without me vocalising their anxiety.
At least the queue was moving, so every five or so minutes we were directed to the next yellow line. It sort of reminded me of the scholar patrol in primary school.
By now I was no longer the backmarker. From nowhere, about four or five people had silently fallen in line too.
Directly behind me was a young man. He could be a student. Or a teacher preparing for his first year in the front of a classroom.
I can’t really recall any of the other people in the queue with me.
It was only later, driving home, that I realised the coronavirus really does not discriminate.
My test was negative. Should I wonder about the others?
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