#UCTLockDownLetters is a new feature on the University of Cape Town (UCT) news site. Staff, students, parents of students: we want to hear about your experiences of work and life in lockdown. Emails, audio and video clips, prose and poetry are also very welcome. This is your space.
This contribution comes from Rebecca Njuguna, a full-time master’s student in the Department of Information Systems in the Faculty of Commerce.
14 May 2020
I was on orders to get out more
Now I can’t go out at all
Not even to the chair on the corner where I sit each week
To gaze through the window of my soul
“The process must continue,” said the one who sits across from me
Now there is a screen between us.
Once she had to ask
“Is it your voice or signal breaking?”
She’s let no emotions get lost to bandwidth
A few times I’ve had to ask
“Can you hear me?”
And really, isn’t that the question of my whole life?
The private room is small and dark and has an echo
An evil satire
For it’s the echo from my past that brings me here
Yesterday I was on the seat for the weekly gaze
Then just sat there for long after
From thence I heard children play outside
Innocent, stress-free, unhinged
I looked at the chair on which I sat
And thought “what if they’ll end up here too?”
All the laughter and play faded
Things all seemingly harmless in their eyes now
Turned into vicious ghosts.
For growing up is nothing but an endless fight with ghosts of days past
Dancing to echoes of victory or weeping to dirges
“Can you hear me? Does anybody hear me?”
Even when the signal scrambles
I know she’s there.
And that’s what it is about,
Knowing that someone’s there,
Whether I see them or not.
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