Crying is ugly. Crying is so ugly that even when Kim Kardashian does it, it’s meme-worthy. I think my ugliest cry was last month, on the 24th of September. Or maybe it was the 25th of August; both of these dates had a lot in common. I couldn’t ask my Mum for a tissue because she was sitting two metres away on a chair on a square of floor marked by tape. I couldn’t wipe my nose properly because I was wearing a face mask. The funerals were capped at 14 (living) attendees, because even though the government limit is 30, this number gets cut down if the venue can’t fit enough people while maintaining the 2 metres distancing.

I’m exhausted – aren’t you? But the people fuelling my fears aren’t just people I’m allowed to rage against, like politicians or CEO’s. They’re also my peers, my mates, my loved ones. The people I fear losing the most. I didn’t lose my loved ones to coronavirus, but if I could have prevented their deaths by wearing a mask and using hand sanitiser, it wouldn’t have been a question. I can’t prevent their deaths; but we can all prevent others.

So, I’m starting to get pissed off when I cycle past groups of matriculating freshers sharing bottles of Glen’s. And not just because it’s Glen’s. I didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t yell at any of them, so I yelled (mask on) at the group of anti-mask protesters outside of Westgate. I didn’t know I was going to do that, but then I saw a sign reading “THIS IS NAZIFICATION” and all of a sudden my friend was pulling me away, worried at how quickly I just lost it. In my defence, they all had incredibly smug, punchable faces. In their defence, I don’t think they’re bright enough to understand the flaws in their logic.

I really hate being angry. It makes me feel scared and out of control, feelings we’ve all been drowned in to varying degrees since March. I miss getting drunk with my mates after narrowly making (or not so narrowly missing) a deadline. The finalists miss believing that they wouldn’t be completely at a loss in a pandemic-ravaged job market as soon as they graduate. The Pret baristas miss a world where they didn’t have to explain seventeen times a day that they can’t put a latte into a KeepCup.

For the incoming freshers, the missed experiences just as they begin this new chapter are beyond unfair. Social distancing purism does little good either –  we can’t expect people, the most social creatures on the planet, to stay away from each other for months and months with no clear end in sight. Our government delayed, and their inaction cost relationships, jobs, and lives. We’re right to be frustrated. But take it out on the ballot, not the immunocompromised.

The last student journalism article I wrote was a pun-filled comedy piece about whipped coffee. This isn’t my writing style. It’s not what I think people want to hear from me, and I’m sorry. But I just can’t take another fucking funeral.

Illustration by Alisa Musatova

Fancy a discount? Love to shop independent? As Covid restrictions leave small businesses struggling, The Oxford Blue has partnered with local shops in Oxford to help them survive the pandemic and to offer our readers some great promotions. Check out where you can get yours here:

Bella Cooper-Brown

Bella (she/ her) is a second-year reading Chinese at Queen's College. She's a writer-performer who dabbles in the occasional article when adequately bored or annoyed by something. She likes long walks on the High Street and long talks in the smoking area of Park End.