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Unlocked

April 2022, the world has been in lockdown for two years.

A rumble of thunder awoke Varun from his sleep. He checked the clock by the bed; it was 6 AM. Sitting up on the bedside, he stretched his arms upwards. The pain in his elbows had subsided – it was like this in the mornings and got worse during the day. He stepped out to the balcony – he loved the view he had from the 15th floor. This morning though, it was raining, and he couldn’t see much.

After brushing his teeth, he looked at the softboard in the kitchen where he had his housework schedule mapped out. Today was a Friday – the following items were listed

Change curtains (last Fri)

Laundry

Friday party!

Today though was different – today the lockdown was to be lifted. It was difficult to imagine that more than two years had passed since it had started. Varun had taken an off from work today – he thought he needed the day to be able to digest such an event. He had been prepared that the lockdown would be extended the previous evening or by mid-night. After all, it had happened before – twelve times in all.  He spent almost fifteen minutes checking his phone for news on the topic. Nothing indicated otherwise. It was two weeks in a row when the number of new cases had reduced to single digits; and finally, the lockdown was to be lifted: today.

After years of thinking of what to do after the lockdown – his mind was now blank. He had had so many ideas – go out for a run, go for a movie, eat at his favorite Chinese restaurant, hit the pub – but he was now unsure. It was now almost four months since he had stepped out of his apartment. Finally, he made up his mind – he would go to the neighborhood park. He had a cup of coffee and put on his shoes.

He found an umbrella and picked up the keys to the apartment. He hesitated a moment – donned his mask and stepped out.

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