Journals of a Plague

14 Milford Close
Harare, Zimbabwe

Thursday 3 January, 2020

• First Entry

My therapist proposed that I start writing in a journal about my thoughts and feelings. Here we are. This is awkward to say the very least, as I have never made an attempt to relay myself through writing. I don’t know where to begin. Dear Diary? That is such a girl next door, teenage cliché. Hey there, my name is Ratidzo Grace Kaome. Okay, that definitely sounds like telemarketing in the 19th century. Damn this is not as easy as I thought. I am a 33-year-old woman, single, a virgin in penetrative sex and I suffer from an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I still have doubts about having an anxiety disorder as I believe my fears are valid and factual. I have an “irrational” fear of germs, bacteria, disease and an incessant need for symmetry, order, and cleanliness. I guess this is why I have a very successful laundromat company that has franchised across the country.

I lost my parents and 2 of my younger sisters to a cholera outbreak in 2009, while I was away in college. Nothing has ever been the same. Everything went downhill as I suffered from acute Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder. Haunted by recurrent nightmares: vivid imagery of four coffins lined up on our front yard. My whole entire family was gone and I failed to cope. I dropped out of college. I feel like an onset of palpitations as I type. Give me a minute. Writing about my triggers is not exactly a brilliant idea, albeit my therapist said it will help to anticipate compulsions and manage them.

It’s crazy trying to keep your head bobbing above the water when you lost everything to a pandemic. Worse,the very same pandemic happens every 4-5years. I am still stuck in a third world country that occasionally has cholera or typhoid outbreaks. Just great. So yes, I am a gemophobe, I fear bacteria and I clean my house 6 times a day. I hate public spaces, I have managed my business with minimal human contact and I believe the world is going to end in an apocalyptic plague. There is nothing irrational about protecting yourself from contamination but humanity seems to suffer from amnesia. 1518 small pox almost wiped out native Americans, nevermind the Black plague that killed millions of people in Europe, Ebola took thousands in West Africa, and 2009 Cholera took everything away from me. Maybe I am cuckoo but it is about survival. There are 27 devastating infectious diseases out there. Call it OCD but I am not taking chances

Communal contaminated borehole took my family. Most importantly, a poor health system too overwhelmed to save them in time. Nobody really cares as people continue to drill boreholes without permission because you know what? There is shortage of water, water testing kits, siting, filters and purifiers are fucking expensive. Unprotected wells are becoming more rampant, water engineering is hanging on the hinges because municipalities have no resources to maintain water supply and sewerage. Doctor Matema said I should write a list of my triggers.

A list of my Triggers.

1. Humanity.

That’s it, that is my list. Do you know who should be in a therapist couch every Wednesday? The bloody world. Look at the Black Plague, it came from rats and flies because of the filth and scum in the European streets. Excreta, livestock, slime, and grime, brought a pestilence in the air. A pandemic so lethal a person can be healthy in the morning and dead in the evening. Airborne and even by just touching the clothes of an infected person and the next thing you are a gangrenous heap of flesh rotting alive. Mid-1500s is the worst time to go back to reincarnation. Basic cleanliness and hygiene is taken for granted. People go around shaking hands, kissing, touching public surfaces, using public toilets, back baring, unprotected sex, sneezing, coughing in the open air. Humanity is my trigger. Social spaces are my gehenna. The smell of detergents makes me happy so is sliding into my white fresh crispy sheets and flicking the bean with a finger clad in latex cot.

Doctor Matema was right, this is indeed therapeutic and soothing in inexplicable ways. Pouring my thoughts without being given the undermining look of feigned concern. Just blank white space that yearns to be plastered with letters from a train in the labyrinth of my mind. Am I the only person who is worried about the minute particles in the air that might be contaminated? The amount of pathogenic droplets in the air as you breathe in toxic pollutants that may instantly end your life? Airborne diseases spread by talking and breathing? I mean everyone is a possible host of a deadly disease. Is it just a mild cough or a destructive virus that is asymptomatic?

Maybe if there was an urgency from humanity to preserve life, just maybe, maybe I would not succumb to a compulsive and obsessive disorder. I would hate for my therapist to read this journal and feel like he wasted years in college, but a plague is imminent at this rate. I am just one woman who is prepared, typing in latex gloves and breathing in the fresh meadow scent of my bedroom diffuser.

Miss RG Kaome

Stay tuned for the next entry of Ratidzo’s journal, to be published on Wednesday 18 March 2020, 10:00am

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