Fifteen years ago, Anita made the best and worst decision of her life. The best, because she would be living the life she had dreamed of from her childhood. It was the only thing she had been completely certain of from the very beginning. The worst, because what she didn’t know at the time, is that she wouldn’t have it easy in this life path. I mean, there is nothing easy in this world. Everything has its perks. But this was different.
Yes, you guessed it. Anita chose the medical profession. She chose to be a doctor. From her childhood, she had taken interest in learning about the physiology of creatures, and once she finished high school there was no debate about it. She was going to medical school. Like any other parents, hers were quick to bring the career conversation up whenever they were among other parents.
“Oh, Anita? She’s studying medicine. She wants to be a doctor,” they said, trying to act humble but their facial expressions betrayed them.
They had a good reason to be proud of their daughter though. She knew what she wanted from the beginning and she went against all odds to get it. But now, fifteen years down the line, Anita’s mum spent days and nights fasting and praying for her daughter’s safety. Her father, on the other hand, was always pacing up and down trying to calm down about the situation at hand.
You see, Anita had spent an extra two years at the university because of the strikes. She worked hard, but the conditions weren’t always favourable. There were times when she thought she would give up and start something else, but then again she knew that her heart was in what she was studying. Luckily, again, while at the university, she had a boyfriend who had encouraged her through all these problems. They eventually got married and had a beautiful daughter.
Five years later Anita was now working in one of the main hospitals in the country. She loved her job. It was exactly how she had envisioned it. She felt fulfilled, and every day she thanked God for it. Everything was going great until the pandemic happened.
It was the 13th of March, a gloomy and tense day. You could feel it in the air that something was wrong.
“Corona has reached here!” Sally, her friend, came running into the room to say. They both ran out of the room to the public T.V to see the cabinet secretary address the nation.
The rest of the day went on as usual, but as soon as the clock struck 4 pm, Anita packed her bags and rushed home. As she was headed home she felt a tingly sensation in her throat and she immediately started to panic. She thought she had contracted Coronavirus, and she didn’t know what to do. She was not thinking about herself but her two-year-old child. Turns out she was just panicking, but at the time, there was no reason not to doubt that she was actually sick.
“Hello, Ian? Please come home as soon as you can. I need to discuss something with you,” she said. Ian was her husband, and she had tried her best not to make him panic.
That night, she went straight to her room and closed the curtains. She didn’t want to go near her daughter. She loved her too much to put her life in jeopardy. She put on some Adele music and lay down in her sorrows. She didn’t know what to do. Her husband knocked on the door a few hours later with dinner for her.
“Hey love, what’s up?” He asked.
“I think I have the virus. Please take me somewhere where I can stay by myself. I can go to your sister’s house since there’s no one in that house. I’ll take the test first thing in the morning.”
Anita had already packed her bags. She was ready to leave. She cried as her daughter asked where she was headed. Her husband has tried to convince her to take it easy but she had made up her mind.
That’s how it all began. She tested negative a few days later, but she couldn’t bring herself to go back home. She was expected back at work, and now, she couldn’t help but think that it could happen to her family and she would only have herself to blame.
It was months of torture. She spoke to her daughter through video calls every day, but it just wasn’t enough. She wanted to embrace her and kiss her and reassure her that she loved her. She wanted to be with her husband, but she couldn’t.
As though things couldn’t get any worse, her friend Sally tested positive for the virus a few months later, and unfortunately, she didn’t make it. Anita was in the pits. She felt depressed and she didn’t know how to salvage herself from the situation. On one hand, she had a sense of fulfillment every time she would treat patients to their recovery. She couldn’t betray all these people at a time when they needed her the most. But on the other hand, she questioned a lot about her life. Was her heart really built for this career? If she couldn’t be close to the people she loved the most, then what was the point?
Anita turned to alcohol. One day after the next. She had not seen her daughter in months. Her husband had been supportive all along, but deep down, Anita felt like she was in prison. She went to work, and back to her sister in law’s house where she felt lonelier than ever before. Alcohol was her new companion, and she felt like she couldn’t rise above it.
It was a Saturday afternoon when Ian decided to randomly check up on her. He had known about her breeding drinking problem, but he didn’t know what to do about it. Anita had told him to stop visiting her because it would put his life in jeopardy as well.
Ian knocked on the door for ten minutes, and no one opened the door. He was sure that she was there because her car was in the parking lot.
“Anita! Anita!” He said shouting, as he tried to hit the door to open.
Five minutes later his wife walked out, and when he saw her, he was shocked. Her hair was a mess and her eyes looked tired. She looked as though she hadn’t slept in days.
“Honey, I think I need therapy. I’m not okay,” Anita said as she hugged her husband.
She cried because she knew that something was off. She cried, for her daughter who she hadn’t seen in months. She cried for her patients who she had seen fighting for their lives but didn’t make it. But now, at least she knew. She knew she wasn’t okay, and now, at least she knew she needed help.