Life in times of Coronavirus VIII – Sabrina and her mother Lisa

On the day Lisa closed the door for the last time to the flat in which she had lived for nearly fifty years it felt as if a big weight fell from her heart. She had given up the flat and passed it on. So no going back. Lisa felt relived and the moving out at the end of February was an unbelievable liberation for her. Moving into the retirement home was the start of a better future. Lisa was nearly 80 years old and now moved into the small two-bedroom flat with a teeny tiny kitchen and a sunny balcony at the retirement home.

When she felt like it, she cooked, when she didn’t feel like it, she could eat breakfast or lunch at the dining hall with the other residents. She hadn’t eaten in the evenings for decades and she didn’t want to change her habits anymore. She quickly made connections and got acquainted with Liselotte and Hans who had a similar interest in art and music just as Lisa did.

When the first news of the virus in China appeared, she barely noticed and wasn’t interested in the topic. When the virus advanced all the way to Italy the virus became discussion topic number one at the dining hall. Especially because quite a few residents had relatives in Italy and they spoke of unbelievable events. Shortly thereafter the head of the retirement home announced that visits were from now on no longer permitted and that it also wouldn’t be allowed anymore for the inhabitants (apart from for walks without attendants) to exit the resident home. Whomever didn’t respect this rule would be expelled from the home immediately. That was understandable but very tough. Many of the inhabitants have since then started to deal with big fears. For some, those turned to panic attacks, which they weren’t able to get under control without medication.

Lisa didn’t care about any of it. Actually, she was glad that she wasn’t allowed to get visits anymore. Respectively that’s only partially true. She would have liked to see her friends. But she’d rather completely avoid visits than having to meet her own 53-year-old daughter Sabrina.

As a young girl Sabrina was beautiful. Big blue eyes, full, golden hair with curls, high cheekbones, skinny with long legs. No wonder that many turned their heads when she walked past and also no real surprise that she signed a modelling contract when she wasn’t even 17. Lisa, her mother wasn’t very happy. She would have preferred for Sabrina to have invested her time in her education and that she would learn a good job role. But Sabrina wasn’t going to be stopped. She already envisioned herself on the biggest catwalks in New York, Milan and London where she would present the newest fashion and show off her pretty face in the flash lights of the cameras. Success however requires iron discipline because each gram more on the bones was a disaster right away. Discipline wasn’t one of Sabrina’s strengths. Every now and then, especially in the evening she could demolish three bars of chocolate in one go. After that she would lock herself in the bathroom and throw up what she had just eaten in the toilet bowl. In the beginning she did this only every now and then and after a while nearly every day. In the beginning it went very well with the jobs and Sabrina could buy many things others could only dream of. After a while however, she got less and less jobs and she got paid poorly. She was riddled by fears of failure, bad skin and eating disorders. She didn’t have a completed education and only thanks to the support of her mother was she able to make ends meet. In time it got worse and worse. Every now and then she moved out of home but after a few years, months or days she would come back with her suitcase to her mommy. She took the own lack of success out on her mom because she had been against her modelling career from the beginning.

The discussions and arguments when she once again lived at home became more severe and uglier.

Lisa swore countless times that when Sabrina came back the next time, she would refuse her entry to the home. But she didn’t have the heart to do so as she knew that she was the last stop for Sabrina before the homeless shelter. The older she got the worse it got.

Sabrina threatened her mom and when she hit her the first time, Lisa knew, that if the situation didn’t change radically, she would be beaten regularly. She figured that the only solution seemed to be to move away. She looked for a retirement home, signed the contract, quite the flat and started to give away the furniture and to discard it. Sabrina didn’t notice as she had barely every had any interest for her mother. Thank god it was during a period where Sabrina lived somewhere else again. On the day of the move Lisa called Sabrina and told her that she had moved. She refused to give the new address to her daughter.

The coronavirus gave Lisa the time to not have to meet her own daughter. She didn’t fear death.

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