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Image by Drew Beamer


Staring into the abyss,

Debating whether to jump 

in with a kiss 

To risk falling, falling…

not knowing the depths of this feeling 

Feeling my way, 

trying to keep any doubts at bay 

Yet still

The black dog does appear 

Reminding me of all there is to fear 

Bristling with irritation, anger, dismay

Sensing my freedom slipping away 

Me, me, me, meooow 




What happens to the woman who decides that she doesn't want to leave?  Living in hotel quarantine is in fact what suits her. Her meals are all catered for, she doesn't need to wear underwear, and life is smaller but simpler.  She perhaps enjoys this limbo when life is about to happen but hasn't yet.  What if she wants to make this her life? Here she can sit, write, incubate her plans and feel safe. 

For there's comfort in the fact that 10,000 other people in Hong Kong are going through the same experience. All locked up in hotels counting down the days until they get out.  Pacing around rooms, trying to introduce routine and structure into their limited days, remembering to wash and get dressed.  But to hell with all that, she has gone fully feral.  Her hair is not washed, her legs unshaven and she's taken to eating cereal out of a paper cup in bed.

The short visits from the outside world are enough for her.  The Indian man next door who got locked out of his room banging on hers to ask her to call down to reception.  It felt like a full on intrusion into her own little world.  How dare he! And then there were the officials from the health department. Chinese women dressed head to toe in blue PPE carrying with them an elephant trunk of a vacuum.  They didn't want to stay long either, no pleasantries, just a quick stick up the nose and down the back of the throat to almost make her gag.

Outside the weather is grey and here she can plan all the things she wants to do when it's warmer. A swim at the Sai Wan Swimming Shed, a walk up the peak, coffee with a friend, drinks for another one's birthday.  But what if she's not quite ready to do all those things?  She wants to stay in the bit before for that little bit longer.  Time paused to allow her to recalibrate on life, or just to continue living this feral existence.

She puts her phone on aeroplane mode to silence the incessant messages from dear friends making plans...  She doesn't want to hear any of it, see any of it or partake in any of it, not just yet. Once on aeroplane mode her life is without external stimulation… Finally she can daydream or focus on reading an actual book.  Never before has she been so spoiled by time and yet it still runs away from her.

She calls down to reception to ask for another week.


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