By Titus Kreyenberg (*)
This morning my son Nikolas wanted to wear his black T-shirt with a fluorescent skeleton printed on it. I couldn’t persuade him to put on anything else. So he ended up running around all day dressed up as the Reaper. Of course, the irony escaped him. What does he know? He has just turned 4 and still has to come to terms with not being able to see his friends from kindergarten anymore.
Before lunch, I had to take my older son, Elliott, to the airport. He is 20 and came to visit. Saying goodbye, I was full of well-intended advice on how he should protect himself back in Berlin. He promised me he would do everything by the book. We hugged each other for a long time before he disappeared into the airport. Almost everybody was wearing face masks while the Greek muzak from the speakers was as cheerful as ever. Driving home, I caught myself thinking about my last will for the first time.
In the afternoon we went for a picnic up on Lycabettus with Konstantinos, my son’s best friend from kindergarten, and his father. Both children pretended to be scientists, exploring the rocks nearby, wanting to wear these funny plastic gloves, which were far too big for their tiny hands. Our friend told us that 35 directors for commercials voted unanimously to stop working in order to protect their teams.
As it was getting cold, I went down to get jackets. Crossing the street, a Delta squad motorcade of seven passed by like the riders of the Apocalypse on the deserted street, separating the proud mountain from the rest of the city. Instead of chasing anarchists they’re chasing viruses now, I thought.
Tomorrow my wife will go and look after her 80-year-old father. I was on the phone to mine this morning. He is 90 and is suffering from bad bronchitis in Berlin. Thankfully Oona, my daughter, and my brother are looking after him. We are trying to convince him not to go out, but he cannot order food from the shops like we do in Athens.
And the news is getting bleaker.
I gave our 9-month-old daughter, Kalliope, the night bottle. She happily fell asleep, exhausted from spending a whole day with both parents and her brother. Unlike her mother and father, she’s ignorant of the strain the virus puts on all of us. We’ve stopped our daily work routine and try to adjust to the new demands as well as possible, without giving in to worries too much.
Nikolas wants to learn how to write. Yesterday he wrote “Mama,” “Papa” and “Nikolas” all on one page and stuck it up on the mirror at the entrance for everybody to see. I will practice with him in the coming weeks. He needs to accept the reality of his younger sister. Her name is still too long for him. He must not worry about anything else for as long as possible.
(*) Titus Kreyenberg is a film producer