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  • Jose Arrieta

The Longest Six Months

Six months ago the pandemic started. Or so my mind tells me. I know my mind lies. I diligently pursue ways of acknowledging those lies and limiting their impact on my life. Yet, when I think of COVID, I remember it as a six-month spurt.


Imagine. I meet with friends who were pregnant before the pandemic. My brain directly explodes when a 2-year-old toddler runs away from my brown self (FYI: 2-year-olds are shy and in whitelands, they feel threatened by my brown skin). I get excited to see others move together, get engaged, and even married during this long semester. So many of us made the same decision in these few months. So cool, says my brain. In doing so, I forget that many of these people have been in relationships for a relatively long while right now.


It was not always like this. The first six weeks of lock-down were hard. They redefined hard for me. I felt caged. I fell into depression. I got angry. Frustrated and alone. Years passed during the 50 days I could not meet my partner. Trees grew rings, and seasons waned between the day I arrived in my flat from a perilous trip to my homeland in late March and the day I left it in early May.


The main point is the contextual nature of my time perception and not its subjectivity. That time is subjective is a trivial truism. We all know this. It need not be explained. That the subjectivity is affected by whose experiences we are recollecting and retrieving from storage was new, at least for me.


I can only hope that we are all the protagonists of our stories. And the protagonists most of the plot revolves around us. Sam received most of the lines in the Lord of the Rings. Sabrina in the Teenage Witch. Plotlines B and C tend to gain less focus when we replay our stories. We know Neville spent quite a bit of time in botany but we just think about it because it helped Harry get hold of Gillyweed and pass the second trial of the Triwizard tournament.


My privileged self can't imagine being taking the role of sidekick and remembering other's people experiences in more detail than mine. I know it is a privilege but I hope one many of us can experience. We are all human, we all deserve to be the person we care the most for. At least before our children are born.


I guess it makes sense that when looking back at the lives of other people, their events feel generally compressed as if all moved very fast. Whereas when I rewind my life the speed of events changes dramatically. Some went fast, as my new experiences in a new job, or year n+1 as immigration. Others fill my mind with detail and with a rich and deep sense of time. Such as my first lockdown or the first months living together with my partner.

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