Being one of the ‘only’s.

Last week I read a tweet criticising the common tendency now to dismiss the coronavirus as something that will affect only the elderly and the vulnerable: the ‘only’s’.

Being an only myself I have been feeling increasingly angry about this celebration of the fittest. Boris Johnson is smugly preparing to ‘take it on the chin’. Others wave the threat of it away with their hand and an eye-roll. “It won’t be a problem.”

This morning I spent twenty minutes driving round searching, praying for a parking space. I ended up in one too far away for me to walk the distance. As I staggered to my destination I passed a car park with tens of empty spaces. It was barricaded off with the sign ‘staff only’. I could have wept. Walking back, people stepped down on the road to overtake me. Not one stopped and offered their help. I was an ‘only’ to them. Or that’s the way I felt.

Just a gentle thought: one day, all of us will be shut out, pushed away and overtaken by someone fitter, smarter and younger than we are. Even Boris will not be able to defeat that with his inimitable chin.

Next time you’re out somewhere, have a look around and see the ‘only’s. Walk beside them and cherish your time with them. Because one day, that will be you.

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