A national lockdown would begin in a few hours, and the once bustling, steamy beach town of Durban was unrecognizable. The wind howled, the sun hid behind low clouds and the streets were empty save for the few masked souls who scurried about frantically loading boxes of food into over-packed cars.
In the jewel-green shelter of an old garden in the heart of the city, Calvin and Thaila traded rings and vows. What seemed like the simplest of weddings was in fact the most complicated, having been rushed together in a few days after scrapping their plans for a more traditional wedding that was scheduled during what would now be a lock down. The guest list was trimmed down to the most beloved members of their inner circle, save for the ones who could not even risk leaving their house. A tinge of sadness hung over the event for those who could not be there, and for all the dreams that lay waste in the ever shifting landscape of a global crisis. But that sadness only served to make the sweetness that much more profound.
Thaila and Calvin had carried the stress of each day’s new development for weeks, watching their 150 person wedding get reduced to 50 people, then the cancellation of their honeymoon to Turkey, until finally the president announced that their wedding was effectively cancelled and they could choose to either wait until after the lock-down and after this virus had passed, or they could get married on the knife’s edge of the moments before major crisis sweeps our nation.
For them, the choice was a clear, direct order from government: Go. Home. And so they did, Calvin is Thaila’s home, and she is his. Without each other they would have been without homes through a history-making global catastrophe. While the rest of the country hurridly prepared to turn to the safety of their homes, they quickly and beautifully made theirs.
And so they bid farewell to their guests, who would join the millions retreating into lock-down, not knowing what the next few weeks and months will hold. Not knowing when they’ll see each other again. After the tears and sadness over wondering if they would even be able to get married, their celebration was that much more poignant. They created their family in a time where having family took on elevated meaning. It was bitter and beautiful and in a whirlwind of great uncertainty one thing stood true: they too, would finally get to go home.