The news hit with varying bangs across the world. In Lagos, it seemed like an unimportant whisper at first: something you heard, and almost forgot long before you could empathise.
It didn’t even hit as hard as the hurricanes or earth quakes we saw in the news sometimes.
Hell, it wasn’t something we could even see.
And then, BOOM! It’s suddenly everywhere: coronavirus.
Toyo was one of the most meticulous people I knew. She was so clean and careful, you’d wonder why she was not a dentist.
Before the airwaves began to peddle precautionary measures to live by, she was weeks ahead. She sanitized her home to begin with, and then propounded a no-visitors-till-further-notice principle which she stuck to like moth to fire.
When Toyo went out to get her groceries and toiletries, she would sterilize every item as soon as she got in. Then she would clean the kitchen, wash the clothes she wore out immediately, take an express bath, and then scrub the bathroom too.
She would then sit in front of her television, tune to any News station, and see how much of the world is still standing.
One evening she developed an itchy throat. A normal person would say it was nothing, but Toyo was the least normal person in Lagos as far as hygiene and pessimism went in the same breath.
A normal person would also say they were being psychosomatic at worst, but the news reports about that Italian man who flew into Lagos with the bug had dealt her sense a clinical knockout.
She called her sister who worked as a doctor in LUTH. While her sister’s arrival was imminent, she did a mental back up of her latest activities. If she had Coronavirus, she had to detect the seam from where the leak occured.
Eyes shut like Morpheus in Matrix, she began to think.
She thought about it per weeks, per days, per hours, per moments.
And then one moment jumped out to her.
She had collected her change at the gas station, then picked her phone to put a call through to a friend as she drove away. Even when she got home at night, she did not remember to sterilize the phone among other things. Nor did she remember she had put the money – a possible virus carrier – in her bag.
No matter how well she had sterilized the house, the moment she touched the contents of her bag, where she put the money, she was instantly re-infected.
That was indeed the seam from where the virus leaked. That small window of opportunity; that one moment of oversight – and yet everyone thought she had been too careful.
No one could be too careful. No one could fuss enough.
When her sister arrived, Toyo flashed a vague smile, “I want you to be the first to hear it.”
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