On the 4th of May 2020, I woke up in a sort of Christmas-like atmosphere. When I was a child on Christmas morning, like most children in the world, I used to wake up very early with a dizzy feeling. It wasn’t just out of curiosity for the presents that I may have received. I was just incredibly amazed to realise that the day we’ve all been talking about and always seemed so far away was actually “today”. 

For more than two months, “the end of the total lockdown” felt like the horizon: you advance one step and it keeps goes one step further. For more than two months, living felt like experiencing a single everlasting day. On the morning of the 4th of May, I have to admit I no longer felt this way. Something has changed. Things evolved. And I had changed as well. 

On Friday 21st February, I was working as a substitute middle school teacher. In the morning my colleagues were discussing the recent news of an infected businessman near Milan. I didn’t pay much attention to this superfluous morning gossip. During the next days schools in my region got closed for one week. I did not get to see my students again. 

In the first weeks I prepared to bury my freedom, following the five stages of grief: denial (“everybody is overreacting”), anger (“It’s insane, I am not going to respect these freaking nonsensical rules!), bargaining (“okay, I am respecting everything but at least I’m going to walk alone as I’ve never done before”), depression (“I miss the outside ”) and acceptance: I came to appreciate my “quaran-routine” and to enjoy the delicate pleasure of flowers blooming in the garden. I sincerely thanked the cosmos for pledging me with a home. 

Quarantine put life on pause. It paused my worries and my fears for an especially uncertain period of my life. In a certain way, it gave me certitude. It gave me something you don’t get in real life: the 4th of May. The day after the Big Change that occurred, after infinite reflections about the abnormality of our “normal”,  the need to take care of one another, the hugs we miss, and the tons of “andrà tutto bene”. 

Will it really be? Or will we just remain like a disappointed child on the 26th of December, seeking the comfort of her old worn out doll, next to all her new toys unwrapped, and forgotten? 

Let’s not forget our presents. I hope you’ll enjoy your personal “4th of May”. 

By Sofia, in Milan, Italy