Writing Competition - First Place!

The Invisible Thief

Nobody warned me a thief was coming.

A thief that would steal our exams and social events, that would force us to close the shops and the cafes, circling us until we were confined to our homes. The thief left us no choice but to lock ourselves up into our houses, and though for me, this meant writing, reading, and long, but entirely bearable, days indoors, for others, it was not this easy. Some found they had no choice but to spend every minute of every day in a terrible house with terrible people.

Some found their minds locking as well as their doors, trapped in invisible chains that stopped any thoughts apart from:

When will this end?

This question may have belonged to all of us at some point, jumping from person to person and filling our heads until the anxiety reached our heart, and squeezed it tight until it was difficult to take in fresh air, or to see normality, or-

And just like that, mid-thought, our minds might crash back to the centre of the Earth, synchronising themselves with our bodies and beating hearts once again…

My heart loves my home, and my family, and the safety that it finds there, but recently, it’s become restless, asking if it can have the inside AND the outside, my family AND my friends, my sofa AND the red cinema seats. When I remind myself that that is not currently possible, and my heart settles down for a while, I take a book and read fictional tales about fictional people and their little fictional lives. I have always found comfort in made-up stories, both that I create and that my eyes take in, and though this is still the case, it feels as though right now, we are living through a tale. The tale is a dark dystopia about an invisible thief. As I told you earlier, the thief takes all sorts of things, and some of these things we did not even think we would miss until they were no longer there.

But what I did not mention at the start is that this thief is more dangerous than any other, because it also takes lives that were so beautiful and so important,

lives of innocent people who were serving others,

lives that were young, old,

lives that were happy and enjoyed.

Lives of people who should never be forgotten.

And when this lockdown ends- because it will end, despite the relentless thoughts suggesting otherwise- we must remember that the thief returned our social events, and our shops and our cafes.

But the lives are gone, and this devastating truth must stay with us, remind us to be kind to one another, to look after those who grieve and make sure they do not sink to a place of such deep sadness that they cannot come back up.

And if we find ourselves struggling to breathe again, as a mass army of emotions block our path back to the outside world, we must remember to be kind to ourselves too; it’s fine to feel this way.

We all do, sometimes.

And when this happens, it’s okay to take a moment…




by Lottie Erratt-Rose

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