By Omwa Ombara

THE QUARANTINE BLUES are giving me the chills. So are the men in Blue. Whose shiny boots strike a murder song and threaten rather than protect helpless men and women crying out to their mamas for a law gone rogue.

I have a different kind of an itch, I haven't done the Coronavirus test yet, but if luck be on my side, I shall escape the scourge. I hear the test makes the nose bleed and some tester's hands are as rough as a butcher's hands while the waiting is as long if not worse than the second coming.

I wish I could turn back the hands of time, as one musicians once pleaded with fate. Time grabbed the future from my weak grasp and left me with no specific plans. My base has been shaken to its very roots and broken dreams lie shattered and scattered at my restless feet.

 If God could intervene, He would have spare me the scheme till I get my groove back together again. Today, I contend with intense Racism, Recession and Coronavirus. News is sad and overwhelming and death hangs around in a game of chess, like some omnipresent powerful force, waiting to reap where it has not sown. The black man in my life feels like a cornered animal and I'm helpless as a wife to stop this 400-year-old nasty game. 

I have been indoors for the last 100 days and lost the spark that comes with fresh air, friendly smiles from strangers, office hugs and fresh smelling coffee shops. I have combed every corner of my house, rearranged rooms, scrubbed the bath tab, folded all my clothes neat to perfection, but an unexplained emptiness still lingers on. My soul aches for certainty, for stability for a world I once knew, but one that tragedies have hijacked in a whirlwind.

I am surviving on a roller coaster mode, trying to keep busy yet disoriented by the hundreds of thousands of death and millions of job losses around me. 

 I have tried different kinds of masks. At first it was fun, then a necessity, now it's a heavy burden on my nose. I feel like an alien on a planet called earth where I must protect myself from deadly infectious drops and hide my face from fellow humans. Earth has become a spaceship and we underlings are the new aliens. Soon we will be full time slaves of destiny's treacherous scheme.

I pledged to maintain social distancing with my fridge but heaven forbid we got so close. I have been eating like a swine, tried out all my culinary skills. I must admit that the food is pretty tantalizing, my only worry is why the red snapper fish stares at me with its mouth wide open from the dinner plate. I will eat the head anyway. A full-bodied tilapia is scarce and fish fillet is not my favorite dish.

Looting and Demonstrations have been a tricky mix, let's just call it an idea whose time has come. I went to the Bank to sort out my bills but found the looters had done a neat job, the ATM machines are gone and what is left of the Banks are wooden structures similar to the animal barns back home.

News is overwhelming and triggers mystery headaches in my overhead  head, never had to consume so much negative information in my life. News used to be exclusive, now it comes enmasse like uniforms for the Mass Choir. I could stay away from the screen but curiosity gets the better of me and I must up my information game to know what lays in stock outside my door.

I have been grilling like crazy, I'd rather smell the charcoal and spareribs than the teargas emanating from Washington DC. Days are gone when I longed to join the weight gain game, those good old days when I was as skinny as a rake. 

The neighbors have been fighting over a man, but love has always been a strange cup of soup, what a blunder that in the midst of death, love still blossoms like the national guards' bullets.

Samson and Delilah also have the chills, they lie in some lethargic twist and wonder why the silence of the night has been replaced with sirens of ambulance dashing victims into a ventilator hearse. I have tried to learn dog language but this I must say is an animal puzzle fit for the woods.

The Midnight Summer madness is here again and the sadness sweeps through my body and soul. I should feel hot and walk around the house naked, but the chills are here to stay. Two more years  before Coronavirus takes a bow. How I miss Mama! She knows how the blues feel and how to tame the chills.




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