Marie suffered a spinal CSF leak during the covid-19 pandemic forcing her to lying flat in bed for many, many months. This is the story of her confusion around lockdown as she started to gain her health and mental clarity back.

Lockdown. This word is going through my mind more and more often. I’m trying to understand. I’m trying to catch up. What is everyone talking about? It’s everywhere. It’s hitting your eyes as soon as you open any media on your phone, on the TV, on Facebook, when your friends call.

For half a year I have been hearing this word, but from a distance, muffled, covered in a haze. 

With gaining strength and my brain being able to think more clearly, the word becomes sharper and perhaps louder because of the reality for so many who are living it now.

The echo of it touches the walls of my world from outside and I’m trying to get oriented as the sound gets in.

Beech tree
My beech tree from bed

Since summer I have been living within the walls of my apartment with a view from the bed to ‘my’ beech tree outside the window. I watched as it’s green leaves put on their vibrant golden red coats before getting undressed into naked branches and I know every one of them. I kept dreaming of flying outside like a bird. Of seeing our beautiful river, hearing it’s never ending splashing. Of staring at the seven hills protecting it, seeing families taking walks in the park, buying fresh pastry on the way back home.

My time will come soon. After all I will be able to take my first steps outside of my box. A box, which unwillingly, after such a long time, became a comfort zone.

The doors will open. It is thrilling to think about but also I shiver like a chicken. How is it going to be? What is everyone talking about? It seems there is a different world outside – the world of a lockdown. It seems so much has changed! And I’m scared – will I be able to understand?

I don’t know. . . but what I know for sure is I can’t wait to touch my tree and see it dressed again but from outside.

This story is part of a short series we are doing on unusual lockdown/pandemic stories. The rest of the stories will available in the coming weeks here.

Marie Richterova is a Czech expat who has lived in the US and Germany.