#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 75
The idea of a collection of daily words describing how you felt for 30 days of social distancing and isolation feels really meaningful to me and something that I think I’d really appreciate having in 10 years. Think outside the box of what you might typically write!— NaNoWriMo (@NaNoWriMo) March 31, 2020
Standing in the kitchen, blinds wide open to let in the morning light in, I scroll through my phone in search of the pancake recipe I baked last time I cooked some. I eventually find it after deleting too many unnecessary screenshots and prop my phone up on the bread bin.
I mix in the ingredients, carefully following the measures. I open the window as a batter rests and look outside. I can hear birds singing but cannot see them. I look up to the sky but still see no trace of them. Birch, I whisper as my eyes lower to the tree by the brick wall of our neighbours garden. Laurel, I add as I take in the bush by our car. It is sprouting new growth in every directions it can. We need to trim it but neither my partner or I fancy the job. With only one car, we have space to let it grow, providing a home for snails, spiders, and other creatures I have not yet noticed. Unknown, I think of the tree by its side. I will have to look it up.
Birch, I repeat to the peeling white bark contrasting against the red bricks. I think of the birch tree in Kew in London, standing by the bridge going over the overground rails of Kew station. I used to cycle past it everyday for a while, its white bark a marker in my journey to work. I greeted it, always, a lone skinny tree in a row of strong London Planes.
I leave the window and walk to the cooker. I heat a pan, spread some oil on it and begin to cook the pancakes. The batter spread as I turn the handle of the pan. Bubbles form at the top, the edges browning. I turn the pancake over and wait until I feel it’s ready and prepare the next. I sit them on our plates until we have three each, the batter bowl empty. The kettle boils for our tea while I chop fresh fruits for the pancakes. I place each item carefully on our biggest tray and head upstairs, back to the bedroom where my partner awaits her breakfast.
I slide back into the covers and we tuck in. Plates discarded, teapot empty, I retire to the study to join Jonathan on Skype to record some work for Queer Out Here. It is nearly lunchtime when I emerge out of the study but I am not hungry after our late and generous breakfast. Instead, I join my partner on the sofa. The TV is playing an old Columbo we have already seen. We let it play as we spread the Scrabble board out. I glance at one of books about trees in the bookshelf. Tonight, I tell it quietly. Tonight, I pick you up.
The day unfolds quietly between episodes of Columbo, games of Scrabble, and an early dinner. The dishes dried and tidied, I return to the living room and grab the book about trees. I join my partner on the sofa and open it. Roots and branches are spread through the first few pages, their shapes fluids, almost moving. I turn the pages slowly and begin to read about the secret lives of trees as the title puts it.
My partner stretches out, disturbing my legs resting against her side. ‘Bed?’ I ask softly.
‘Yeah,’ she replies mid yawn.
‘I’ll finish this chapter and I’ll join you.’
She leaves me for the bedroom. I carry on reading for a while longer before getting up and going through the routine of bedtime. Before closing the curtains over the door leading to the garden, I glance at the tree just outside our fence. I do not know what it is but I like the pale green colours of its leaves, the white hairs on it making them mellow. Another one to learn about, I think. But that too will have to wait. For now, it is time for bed. I set my alarm at my normal time, hoping that the alertness I have felt today is a sign that I am recovering from whatever I suffered with the week before, and join my partner in our bed.
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