Lockdown Story – Anonymous

Primrose Hill Short Story Entry

It was your birthday today, Mum. Fifty-nine I think. And thanks to this rather nasty virus that’s reeking total havoc on the entire world, which you are wholly and perfectly unaware of, I am not able to see you. I haven’t been able to see you or anyone back home for quite a long time now. I called the nurse this morning and asked her to wish you a happy birthday from me. She told me that she had just sung to you but would go and do it again as soon as the phone was back on the hook.
It began at the end of March. They closed down the school I work in and then everything else. We were told to stay indoors and to stay safe. The lockdown started.
Now I’ll try not to bore you with the tales of how I attempted to keep myself sane and amused over the last few months. I imagine they are very similar to others who were not on the frontline. I had culinary triumphs along with a few disasters. I performed half-hearted yoga sessions on the bedroom floor. I watched endless hours of telly, took part in virtual book clubs and front room pubs.
I struck up an unlikely rapport with the woman who lives downstairs, who is still quite miserable but has stopped sticking aggressive, page-long notes about recycling regulations on the flat door. I actually quite enjoy our conversations now; just today she told me the best way to slash the tyres of any car that blocks our driveway. I probably won’t be trying that. Shockingly, I discovered that there is in fact a basement flat in our building, and a man has been living in it the whole time I’ve been here! I still have not seen him.
I worked from home, was put on furlough and then fortunately returned to work in school. I wandered the neighbourhood and wondered about anything, everything and nothing. This time has forced me to take stock of what I have, and also what I am still yet to achieve.
But Mum, what I really wanted to tell you is this. I fell in love. About half-way into this lockdown and after a short series of events that I won’t bare here, I moved in with the man that I started seeing at the beginning of this year. And well… it was the greatest time.
We played monopoly; he won the first round and I won the second. I cooked for him and he cooked for me. We celebrated our birthdays together. We got bored and frustrated and did nothing. We lay in the dark and he talked and I listened. Then I talked and he listened. We danced in the kitchen. He danced far better than me. We cleaned the flat from top to bottom. We broke a bed and built a new one. He’s seen me; seen me stuff my face and he’s seen me freak out; the kind of behaviour you don’t want anyone to know about. I’ve seen him too.
Then most importantly, we laughed. He’s taught me how to laugh again. In a way that I thought I had lost. Now I can’t deny that we’ve had the odd argument and squabble. We’ve had a few challenges thrown at us unexpectedly, in the way that life throws them. We faced them, we grew and moved on, just as people do. I know there will be more to deal with and more to overcome for both of us and I hope that we will do it together. He has kept me going through all of this, more than he knows. It’s a bit sad that you won’t know him, because he’s really something.
Things are now slowly returning to normal, although I don’t think that normal will not be the same as before. I am still waiting to see you and if all goes to plan, I will soon. Even if it is just for a short moment and through a pane of glass.

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