Skulking. That’s what I was doing. Sitting in the car, watching the long line of socially distanced shoppers outside Shoprite, praying that it would get shorter. I wanted it to get shorter so that I could hide inside my big, sweat-making ski-jacket (okay, I’ve never been ski-ing, and it’s just the outer jacket, bought per kg from the secondhand clothing store years ago), and behind my face mask and my glasses to brave the new world outside my safety net. This was my second of three shop stops on day 32 of lockdown.

My pre-washed shopping bags, purse and phone at the ready, I sanitised my hands and donned the jacket and mask. Oops. The mask was upside down! Giggling, with no one to share the moment (how I miss my colleagues and our laughing), I accepted the complimentary hand sanitiser at the door (double dosing, yes!), grabbed a trolley, wiped it down and headed down the aisles. I suspiciously eyed anyone who came too close to me, especially those not wearing masks. And then I thought of those folks who have to do the shopping run in places like Durban, Cape Town and Gauteng, the epicenters of this covert Covid-19. And I felt safe in my Mooi River cocoon.

My previous stop had been at PK’s in top town, who deliver the yummy baked items in their vans to Treverton so often. I wondered how many people know it stands for Prince Kamboli? And I wondered how they were managing without our big orders. As I was paying for my goods, someone bumped into my posterior, deliberately I knew. I tried to ignore it, but BUMP, there it was again. I turned around to give whoever it was my best Sr Peter disapproving stare. It was Gloria Buthelezi!! My friend and colleague, who I have not seen since lockdown started. Such joy and laughter, followed by a reaching out; a stopping. “Oh no, I can’t hug you!” Another reality check.

Last stop. The Mooi River Mall, to Pick ‘n Pay. Distancing is strict here – no one is allowed into the store without one of the big trolleys, and at all times you have to keep it between yourself and the other customers. Some quite interesting dancing in the aisles is required to maintain this as best as possible! On the way in and out of the mall, I saw two other members of the Treverton community. I discussed masks and disinfectants with one and gave some minor medical advice to the other. Who knows when we will meet again? Skulking. That’s what I do. In the background when my husband teaches, I hope to catch the sound of the voices as pupils greet him or ask questions. Once, I dared to interrupt and said, “I miss you, Max”. There are so many new realities we will have to deal with when we eventually see each other face-to-face. But the blessing of being together as a community at last will be worth the weird and wacky new ways.

Sr Adie Peter (College Nursing Sister)