We went to the pharmacy downstairs from our flat and joined the perforated queue. When it was our turn and we got to the counter or at least 1.5 metres from it my wife leant towards the pharmacist.
“We’ve both… we’ve both got…” she began as the pharmacist – a polite professional – leant backwards as far as gravity and leg strength would allow him. His thought process writ large across his handsome face: FAAAAAARKKKK!!!
“You must say it,” he croaked. “We have to be sure.” A thick silence had blanketed the pharmacy. Behind security ropes, unpurchasable cosmetics collectively held their heavily fragranced breath. The old lady who, a second before, had been nattering away was inching backwards raising her scarf across her face.
“Yes.” I nodded as solemnly as the situation demanded. “We have Thrush.”
“Thrush? Thrush. THRUSH!” The handsome pharmacist sang to the assembled staff and customers. “It’s Thrush! Fantastic! Thrush. Thrush. Thrushy, Thrush…Thru-ush!”
I looked to my wife but I was unable to locate her because she had found a microscopic crack in the shelf between the medicated shampoos and the novelty bath sponges and had crawled deep inside it.
As the Thrush eased, so the weight of the situation outside intensified. I went down to the supermarket on a Wednesday afternoon. There are lines of tape two metres apart on the pavement which mark the queueing zone. At first I was amused but then I quite quickly sunk into a new kind of depression. When it was my turn to be admitted I was waved in by the smiling eyes of the mask and glove wearing lady on the checkout. All the staff familiar and jolly beyond their masks. Tape lines 1.5 metres from each counter.