16 April, Kaduwela, Sri Lanka

By Senashia Ekanayake

Sleep has been difficult. I work out, eat somewhat properly but sleep only comea to me at 3 if not 4 in the morning. My employers are thankfully understanding, and even asked me to consider getting some medication for my possible insomnia. Last night I tried a favourite antihistamine before making dinner. 

Needless to say, it didn’t work. Last night was like any other night but I think I managed to sleep before 2 am, which was a winner. My mum and I also went to sleep with our hearts heavy after learning that my uncle’s wife’s leg amputation is not recovering as well as expected. 

I wake up at 6:30 am. My mum tells me that my aunt has passed and that my uncle is not coping well. She was 41. Diabetes is a silent killer. 

The rest of the morning is hazy. I find myself heating up some leftover pasta for breakfast, a meal we haven’t had in a while because I don’t wake up in time and also because food hasn’t been a big priority in the house. We are also intuitive eaters and eat only when hungry.

I drift between sleep, chores and some work. I read some news and catch up on numbers as my mother tries to see what we can do from here. We soon find out that a curfew pass may be difficult to come by, especially since it’s the death of an in-law. I try to contact some of my (Instagram) friends who have been #CurfewCruising, to learn that they cannot help either. 

Don’t forget that since my mum’s side of the family is Muslim everything will happen by the end of the day and it may be unlikely we could even make it to the Central province in time. We are worried about my uncle. It’s his second marriage and they were one of those lovey-dovey couples.  It was a “love” I had seen only in films. I think the inability to do anything has made things even more terrible. 

Amidst all this, we realise at home that our water line is suffering a massive leakage. This is unfortunately not among our areas of expertise and given the present situation we may not be able to get someone to look into this. Getting a plumber/worker to a female-headed household is a different discussion altogether that I’ll hold off for now. 

Speaking of other discussions, there is also a heightened dosage of the regular racial spew floating about. Aggravated by local media stations, it seems to be resurfacing despite the curfew, one Facebook post at a time. This was one of the reasons we also decided not to actively pursue the curfew pass – what if the unlikely event were to occur that someone in our neighbourhood were to test positive and find the virus to have been brought in by the only Muslim household in an otherwise Sinhala neighbourhood?  And given that sleep is already a problem, it would be best to not go back to last April when I slept in darkness with my blinds open, hoping against hope that our little vegetable patch and my window would not burst into flame. 

Since today is a particular day of grief – I make note of the day on my calendar as well so we can count the 7, 14, 30 and 40 days and make sure extra prayers are said at home. Throughout the years I’ve realised that I don’t grieve easily. As I walk towards the kitchen to make our evening milk tea, I think of the other losses that I’ve encountered during this time.