Like everybody else, i was watching the spread of COVID-19, and that’s from where Rose in a million sprang. Looking at statistics, back in those early days, U.S. mortality was listed at 1 per million of the population – so began a riff that might have been a blog post, entitled one in a million.
That phrase always brings to mind the aphorism I first heard when I was less than 6, as a friend and I conversed in the living room while listening to Jacqueline du Pre. That memory is the imagined prologue that began the story: My friend said exactly what the unnamed character says to Biko’s mom.
Unlike Biko, I believe I just sulked for forty-five years, at which point it occurred that young was no longer a term that could be applied. We also remained friends. Whether I became an unbearable asshole, after the fact, is better left for others to judge.
With that little intro written, more of what has weighed on everybody’s minds was riffed upon: Mortality, isolation, shortages of goods, and, of course, disease. Rose in a million is not a story about the damned virus, but it’s the framework for the themes: As usual, I have difficulty explaining this story.