I am angry at the world. I am angry at the government that is making a farce of this pandemic. I am angry at myself for not being happy to be here, for feeling scared, for wanting to flee. This right here is a space where I should feel safe. This right here is a space where I should feel free. Instead I am paralysed and the realisation of my loss makes me cry.
Some colleagues have returned to the office today. My friend sent me a photo of her at her desk, the familiar photo on the wall hanging behind her. She is smiling in the photo. She is one of the few that has been working throughout this entire lockdown. I picture myself at my desk but who I see is someone else, the person I was before lockdown.
A couple or blackbirds perched on our fence scream at us. ‘I’m sorry,’ I say. ‘The tent will go soon. I promise.’ They beat their wings angrily and fly away. I check my phone. It is nearly 8 o’clock, right on time for the blackbirds usual dinner time in our garden. I had not thought of them when I had erected my tent a couple of hours earlier in the middle of their feeding ground.
My hand grabs one of my work polo shirts resting on top of my chest of drawer. They never go in or hang above with the shirts and trousers. Instead, they rest in a messy pile between the bottom of my shirts and the top of the chest of drawer. In ordinary time, I go through them too fast to bother tidying them properly.
I get off the chair and stretch, looking out of the window into the neighbours garden. The pool is empty. One of the boys, I can never tell who is R. and who is K., is lying next to the baby under a makeshift umbrella. He is making faces at little J. who wriggles his body in delight. They are both naked save for a pair of underwear. I watch them play for a while before returning to my laptop.
I think again of my journey in 2016. Contours, receding, vanishing, lines… words we used with my partner to describe the texts in a failed attempt at finding a title. Receding, vanishing. Now that I think of it, I have written those words, or variations of, often the last few weeks. I am losing, changing.