Last year on the 18th March, one week before Cyril could tell us to Go Home, Stay Home, I dived under my duvet and stayed there. I’ve been here ever since.
On 1st June Raksha said Let’s open up again, and I said ‘No! Keep your head down!’ On 8th June she opened up, can’t wait on a wimp. I said ‘No-one will come. Who’ll be foolish enough to roam the streets, never mind go have their eyes tested!?’ We’ll see, she said. Let’s go!
Prenisha was with her. Let’s go! said Prenisha. They hired locum optometrists and got going. We won’t make breakeven turnover, thought the hidden wimp, all panicky. They did – every single month! They paid the rent, paid their own salaries, paid our locums’ salaries, paid expenses. And – bless them – they even paid me a part-salary! Me, the undeserving fugitive. – – Wait! Were they paying me to stay away?
And so it has gone. Thirteen months later, joined now by Yandiswa (also saying Let’s go!), they’re still doing a wonderful job, I’m still under my duvet. But now one of them has tested positive and we have closed, as everyone takes time to isolate and recover for the one, and avoid contagion for the others.
One day at a time. We’ll test and monitor and open again when we can.
And then: Two days after we closed for COVID isolation our centre got ransacked in the looting inspired by the greed brigade who got used to robbing us blind under Zuma and used his eventual deserved jailing as an excuse to incite the poor to loot. A shameful attempt at an insurrection, people way past their sell-by dates hoping to topple our government so they could get back to looting the budgets of each govt department.
So our practice closed again. Eleven weeks later, having re-built it and re-equipped it and re-stocked it, we begin again on 11 October 2021. We’re in a wrecked-looking centre, with many shops still boarded up (many will never re-open).
My ever-optimistic ladies Raksha, Prenisha and Yandiswa – now vaccinated – are back too, saying Let’s go!
Fingers crossed we can rise from the ashes again.