Love and Affection: Anecdotes from Lockdown

Tommy ZhouJanuary 12, 2022Love

Since the spread of COVID, Melbourne has been in a depression for more than one year. Constant lockdowns and irksome restrictions have seemed to change people’s lives permanently. Many people reveal that they are afraid of inviting people to their homes or hanging out, even when restrictions were eased. The fear of infection has become long-lived in people’s hearts. However, in this unstable era, love and affection appear to be the most important qualities displayed by individuals.

My neighbor was a boy and his father, Jack. We had known each other since the year I came to Melbourne. As we live in an apartment building and share the same Chinese cultural background, we have established decent relationships. At the beginning of this year, Jack decided to return to China as his boy is going to college. On his last night in Melbourne, he introduced his son – William – to us. We had dinner together and Jack was very emotional. He was extremely worried about William because of his introverted personality. In Chinese culture, this farewell dinner was to say goodbye and to express his gratitude to us for “taking care of’ William” when he was away. He believed our caring family environment would make William feel warm in the cold epidemic. He also handed us backup keys, just in case William ever lost his.

After the dinner, I approached William frequently and we swiftly developed a bond. We went for walks together and discussed topics we were both interested in, for instance, IT. From politics to Japanese anime, we covered almost every topic that we could come up with. I would go to his home to play games and my mom would invite him to our home for meals. Every time she would prepare lots of palatable foods. He appreciated us sincerely. My mom would also give him a hand with cooking and cleaning. She “dragged” William into some WeChat groups called “Group Purchase” and told him that he could purchase goods online and collect them at nearby stores. He would let my mom know what he wanted to buy, and she would seize the food for him. When the goods were relatively cheap, my mom would not charge William. In her opinion “talking about money would hurt feelings,” but love and generosity are priceless.

Last week during the Mid-Autumn Festival, William’s grandparents sent us gratitude messages for our affection and kindness. I realized that, sometimes, unrequited love makes people feel the warmest, especially in difficult circumstances. After being looked after by others, I believe that William will also be kind toward others in the future. This experience helped me to understand the importance of love. Sometimes people will remember your small acts for the rest of their lives. Just as Barbara De Angelis said, “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”

Ziyin (Tommy) Zhou is a 16-year-old who lives in Melbourne, Australia. He enjoys reading books and news, writing articles, listening to music, swimming, appreciating the environment, playing tennis, and playing the violin.