Lives under lockdown: Every day’s worth is the same

“Is it that hard to control how much you drink?” asked Lucas as he wrapped my arm around his shoulder.

“I told you. I’m fine,” I murmured. I mumbled a few more unintelligible words before Lucas gazed up at the sky, showing how uninterested he was.

The faint glow of the moon passed through the clouds, illuminating the street. The flickering street lights, the faded zebra crossing, the tall buildings towering over us and the deafening music from the cars that echoed around the street slowed down the tempo of my ever-so-busy life.

Before I knew it, I had woken up to my alarm clock. I had a terrible hangover. My headache mercilessly made me lose the will to get on with my day but I hesitantly got up anyway. Barely able to open my eyes, I washed up and got ready for school.

“Aaron! Wait!” my mother exclaimed as I was about to leave the house. She tossed me a mask and told me to wear it before going out. I nodded in agreement before replying with a thank you.

“Your school will not be open for the next month from next week, so be careful for the time being,” my mother nagged.

“Okay, I will try to,” I replied as she waved me off to school.

Two weeks passed and nothing happened. The boredom of staying home the entire day caught up with me and I had been reckless for the past few weeks.

I was contemplating sneaking out again but realised that nobody would throw a party at a time like this.

I continued to scroll through my phone, looking for something interesting to do, but only ended up falling asleep.

The auburn sun shone in my eyes, causing me to wake up. I squinted and extended my hand in front of me to block out the sun. I rested my chin on my palm and admired the view through my window.

I wanted to wait for the sun to completely set so I could watch the moon cast its light upon us, but I heard my mother yell my name to go for dinner.

Grandpa coughed as we were eating, but said not to worry about it.

“Are you fine?” I mumbled through a mouthful of rice. He just nodded and smiled at me.

He coughed again but said he was only choking on his food.

This raised our concerns, so we decided to get his temperature checked and get him tested.

We had to wait two days for the result. My parents took him back to the hospital two days later while the rest of the family remained at home, expecting them to be back soon and say it was nothing.

A few hours later, I received a call. It was my mother. I picked up the call and held my phone to my ear.

I was eager to hear that it was nothing. “I have some news,” my mother said. Before she said anything else, I knew what had happened. The tone of her voice told me the gravity of the situation.

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Regrets by Liam Tan. It is part of a series of pandemic stories in Lives Under Lockdown: A Young Writer’s Anthology. Priced at RM32.90, the book is available at MPH Bookstores. Royalties from the sale of the book will be channeled to SOLS Health Community Centres.