#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 89

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 89

Day 89

I dig into the earth and pull out a weed, carefully trying to avoid pulling out any of the wild flowers I planted a few weeks ago. Kneeling by the currant tree, I repeat the process over and over again, my attention focused on keeping the wild flowers in and the roots of the tree undamaged. I follow the curve of the grass edge, weeding out what we have seen grow and didn’t like.

‘I’m going for a walk,’ my partner announces as she steps into the garden.

‘With J.?’


‘Okay,’ I reply a bit uneasy. J., a friend of my partner, has been in various protests recently and lives with someone who has had little care for the rules of lockdown.

‘I’ll take a mask,’ my partner adds seeing the concern on my face.

‘Okay. Say hello to J. from me,’ I add smiling.

‘Will do.’

My partner turns around. Soon I can hear the car engine purr into action. My hands are deep in soil, worms are wriggling free of the earth I am turning. I am uncomfortable with my partner going into Bristol, going to see someone with little control over her environment. I need to let go of those fears. I cannot stop my partner or myself from seeing friends when we both know none of the persons involved are irresponsible. I need to learn to live with the virus and the threat attached to it. It is not going away.

The sides and back of the garden free of weeds, I step back towards the patio to look at my work. I feel like we can breathe again in the garden. Nothing is growing wild and out of control anymore, overpowering the neighbouring trees and the grass around. We don’t want a tidy garden, but we do want colour and life instead of choking weed. Slowly, it will come into shape.

I carry my piles of weeds into our green bin and return inside for a shower. Clean and refreshed, I settle into the living room with my laptop and go over our finances. June is the first month when I have not been paid in full, my employer no longer filling in the gap between the furlough scheme and my full wage. It is not much but enough to be felt. I tally up our salary against our bills. It is not a figure I like. We can afford everything but not much else. It is a luxury, I know, but one I have grown used to living with. I am uncomfortable with the thought of being unable to save, of losing my job as my employer still refuses to make any mention of a possible return date to work. Still, we can afford our house, we can pay our bills, and we can keep eating healthily. We are okay.

I head upstairs to the put my laptop away. In the study, the storage unit catches my eye, some of the musical and camera equipment gathering dust, unused for months. I pull them out before I have time to think, check everything is still intact and working and before I know it, I have a pile of electronics to sell. I sit on the sofa bed, open my laptop, and begin to research second-hand pricing for those items. I add them up, the total coming up to a satisfying amount. I grab my camera to take photos of the items conditions and within the next hour, they are all put up for sale on various websites.

I shove them to the side of the study, easy to grab and reach if they sell quickly. I return downstairs and check the clock. It is past one o’clock. My stomach grumbling, I decide to make lunch instead of waiting for my partner. By three o’clock she is still not back. I worry that she has had lunch with J., taken off her mask and rendered it useless that way. As the thought strikes me, I shove it aside. My partner is more responsible than this. I trust her.

I read for a while before revising some of my Portuguese lesson. They are becoming more complex, the easy knowledge of French and Spanish not enough to get me by any longer. By four o’clock, my partner comes home. We follow the cleaning routine we have set up from coming back from a shop. Clothes are thrown in the washing machine with the mask, my partner hands are cleaned, and she heads for a shower. It feels superfluous and necessary at the same time.

Later, we sit on the sofa, eating an apéritif in front of an old half-remembered episode of Columbo while playing a game of Scrabble.

‘How was J.,’ I enquire my mind relaxed.

‘Yeah, pretty good all things considered. She’s really concerned about returning to work though,’ she adds.

‘Yeah,’ I murmur. I think back of my days working in a library, the public unleashed in the building, the raging wars at the computers, the surfaces touched, the staff desks unprotected in the middle of often stuffy structures.

We say no more on the subject, my partner worries at returning to work in libraries known and shared. For now, it is Sunday evening, and all we want to do is relax.

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