Being ‘Normal’

My body shivers as I get off the train to look at the strange spectacle of human faces from the corner of my eyes. Unmasked and fearful of making eye contact, some people seem to rush down the streets while others keep close to the walls, their heads down. Assailed by sunlight, I walk in circles, wondering if I should cross the street to my office. I breathe with relief as I notice the essentials of life outside my office. Masked and relaxed, my eyes crinkle into a smile at my teammate as I walk confidently to my seat.

This was written for Charli’s Flash Fiction Challenge for Carrot Ranch. This week’s challenge is to write a story about a new way to office. Has the office changed? Can we return to normal after big changes or time away? Go where the prompt leads!

25 thoughts on “Being ‘Normal’

  1. When social interaction is unbearably awkward and withdrawn, it’s vital to have a support person at hand. You’ve crafted a deeply human emotion with simple language and a usually ordinary scene we all may be experiencing in some way or another. I feel a kinship with this character. Lovely writing.

    • Thank you so much, Charli. We can’t see a person without a mask where I live…and they say this situation would last till 2025…Anyway, we have to learn to adjust and get along.

    • That is true, Avery. In some countries, masking is compulsory and not wearing one is punishable by a hefty fine (even imprisonment). This is an aftermath of the pandemic, set in one of those countries…Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      • It might be. I’ve been going to my office for over one year. We didn’t have much of a work from home phase. Even now, when the cases are high, there are people who walk around without masks. Now that most of us have at least got the first dose of the vaccine, some people have started to drop their guard, I mean, mask!

      • It is better to wear masks. Even those vaccinated are in risk of infection. Yes, not everyone is allowed to work from home, unfortunately.

  2. Pingback: New Way to Office « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  3. We actually experienced a similar situation when in January 2020 arriving in Melbourne for transit to New Zealand, covid is just starting to show its ugly head and from where we came from in the Middle East after the holiday we are aware that there are already 5 cases of covid in Melbourne but people at the airport mostly locals are eyeing us wearing a facemask and wondering where on earth we came from haha! After a couple of months, the world is shocked on lockdown after lockdowns, and wearing a mask is a MUST.

    • Lol. Yes. I understand how you might have felt as the only people wearing masks.
      Here, we started wearing masks only from March/April. The world woke up a little late. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, Vinneve.

  4. While many states in the US open, some remain cautious. As some countries deal with variants and continue stress of lock-downs. Transition is always hard after any major ‘storm’.

  5. Being in a sea of strangers, especially strangers who are unsociable, can definitely make you feel nervous and awkward even under normal circumstances. The pandemic makes these situations so much worse. I long for the day when we can see smiling faces again.

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