The second sickness


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Every day that I wake up, I thank my lucky stars that my respiratory system is fully functioning. Every day that I wake up, I feel blessed that my family has not personally been drastically affected by COVID-19. Every day that I wake up, I feel an obligation to be happy that I am experiencing the best-case scenario during a time of great tragedy.

Every day, I wake up, but there are days when I wish I didn’t.

As soon as I open my eyes to the stale, mid-afternoon sunshine, I’m reminded of the precipice my future is positioned on. I’m reminded that there’s a chance I’ll never know normal again. I’m reminded of the fact that I am now responsible for curating my own happiness.

Before COVID-19, it was the simple things that brought me the most joy—music, most of all. Now, I can’t help but recoil when my erstwhile enjoyments bring nothing but a bittersweet taste to my mouth. 

Every day used to be filled with mellifluous music emanating from my phone. Now, it only summons my second sickness. It’s the feeling of overwhelming dread befalling upon my weak mind—a mind already deteriorated by the poison of a leisure-less routine. It’s the memories that manifest the sensation that everything I thought I could keep in is going to spill out. It’s terrorizing nausea induced by my own reaction to being a canary in a coal mine. 

The second sickness is my newfound revulsion to music.

Right now, I am listening to the same five songs on repeat. While this is not life-ending, it is life-altering. For as long as I remember knowing happiness, I have known music. I have known the words to every song on my 18-hour playlist. I have known the happiness and necessary sadness that each song bequeaths to me. I have known the music which became my music.

Now, I know no music. 

I know no music that brings me the giddy, fanciful feelings that I used to let frolic around within me. I know no music that diminishes the ever-expanding overthinking that creates the unbelievable pressure behind my eyes. I know no music that makes me dance.

My second sickness is silence.

The tranquility I once befriended has been replaced with fear. The sense of belonging I used to savor has been replaced with feeling foreign even under my own covers—feeling hopelessly trapped no matter how many times I click my heels and wish to be back home. The music I once loved now brings me anger

Every day I wake up and cover my ears as I hide from the singing birds outside.

Every day I wake up, but I wish my music woke up with me.