I walk among you every day. Yet, you don’t see me. You hear about me every day. Yet, you don’t listen. Some of you might even taste me, yet you don’t want to recognise me. You never show me any respect! You don’t call me by my name! You call me gun violence, terrorism, cancer, accidents. Your favourite word throughout time for me is war.
You don’t even seem to care, you don’t think you need me, for you always replace me. And now you have a new word for me: Coronavirus!
You have transformed me yet again! This time into a virus. Something you can fight, something you can simply wash away. But don’t worry too much about it. I know you will though. It will be annoying.
Why don’t you take it like the little children I take with me ever so often? When I collect them, their brains smashed out by a gun, their bodies already turned to skeletons because of the hunger, their flesh destroyed by a bomb, that you like to drop from time to time so you can play almighty and immortal, the little children simply say: Oh! That went quickly!
Because guess what! They don’t worry about me, although they could worry about me most of all, cause they could have had so much more time! But well, they didn’t!
And what about the ones who had all the time in the world? When I come visit a care home it’s always a tiresome affaire. The old lady or the ancient gentleman simply don’t want to come with me. No fucking respect! And they should care the most. They had the most time to prepare, were simply waiting but then, when the wait was over, they still don’t want to come with me. And they should show me respect because they always say how much respect you should have for the elderly when I am the oldest one of all of you! I was already ancient when Adam and Eve weren’t even born yet!
So when I come collect an old lady she begs me, she can’t leave yet! She still has this to do and that to finish and who will feed the cat and water the flowers? And I reply, you don’t have to worry about these worldly things anymore. You are free! No worries at all! But they don’t want to listen. They just want to stress!
Some younger ones though are even worse! Especially, in the last years you came up with so many new inventions to comfort yourself, to forget me! You invented, peace treaties, pacifism and disarmament! What fools you are when you are addicted to disliking each other and love to shoot each other in the face! But I guess it’s just another distraction to forget me.
And then you started worrying about global warming, which might come for you or might not. Who knows! You haven’t really decided yet! But I am sure you will find an excuse to kill each other over it! Because killing is really what you love.
You simply like to create your own enemies, point at someone or something that you decided to be evil and then destroy it. Bomb it! Fight it! Shoot it! Terrorise it until nothing but ashes are left and you believe that you have actually defeated the terrorism, the lie you have created and you believe that lie even yourself! Victory is yours! Congratulations! The future belongs to you!
But sorry to disappoint. The future belongs to me and me alone! And now, I mentioned it earlier, you have come up with a new invention! Your lovely friend the Coronavirus. It’s nothing new really. Just another face, another entertainment to forget about me! The stage is set. In panic, you run around, sanitise your hands, wash your hands, find a cure, sing happy birthday two times and don’t forget to sanitise your hands!
I am certain you will defeat the Coronavirus because you have defeated everything you like to defeat, so you can forget about me for a time. But I can only say again, don’t worry too much about all of it. For the purpose of life is not not to die. Simply live your life and don’t worry about me. Cause I assure you, I will find you wherever you are. I will come collect the debt you have to pay.
But I know that you don’t care about what I just said. You will keep on complaining. Even when the day comes and you have defeated all the faces, all the make up you have put on my immortal face throughout history. When the day has come and you are all pacifists, destroyed all your weapons, you believe to live happily ever after, in a world you share full of rainbows and happiness. When the day comes and you found cures for all illnesses, cancer, corona, aids, and co. When you have even ended global warming, live on green energy and you don’t exploit any country or any ecosystem ever again. No wars, no hunger, only happiness and freedom.
This will be your darkest hour! For when you have done all of that, the terrifying realisation will creep into your face like a black fat hairy spider at night! Because you forgot the fine print of the deal you and I made so long ago. The contract was simple. Death is the price you will have to pay to be born. And your fear will be greater and more horrific than any fear you have ever lived through before. With every victory, with every illness you have conquered, you forgot that your flesh remains mortal. And you won’t even find any more excuses. You have destroyed and conquered them all. You are alone with me. You might not see me, but yet, I am just around the corner waiting to take you by the hand. And then you can’t complain. You didn’t die in war, not of hunger, not of a virus or cancer, no my dear friend. Then the day has come when you simply die because of death. Your first, oldest and only best friend!
So don’t worry, be happy! Laugh about the Coronavirus! Live your life! Cause don’t you forget! You are just mortal, for I am the only one who is immortal.
Note by the author: This short story was inspired by the monologues of Lisa Eckhart, an Austrian comedian.