I open the boot of our car, put the shopping in and walk home. There I will unload the car, my partner wash each products, my clothes will go into the washing machine along with my face mask, and I will step into the shower. I hardly have to think about any of it.
There is no news from work yet and this uncertainty weighs on me. I try not to think about it but it stays at the back of my mind like a leech unwilling to let go. They need time to sift through the government information, to check numbers, and make informed decisions. I understand this and in a way it is a relief.
remind myself not to worry, not yet. I have been clearly ordered by work not to show up at my desk today. The message has been reinforced with an e-mail this morning, but as I watch the news this evening the word ‘manufacturing’ rings in my head. This is my industry, where I work. So maybe I will have to go back to work, and what measures to have to fight this?
I grab the scissor from my back pocket and attack my fringe. I trim it there, chop it there, take off some clumps at the side. The sink is dark and I am light. I stop for an instant to observe the result. It is short. Much shorter than I had intended it to be but I like it. It makes my face appear boyish, like the wild child I used to want to be but couldn’t conform to with my dangling ponytail.
I am adrift and have been for the last few days, my mind and body unable to settle down. I have cleaned, tidied, and moved a lot in order not to think. I delete the jumble of mismatched words I have written and replace them with an account of my day. It is not what I want to write about but it is all I am able to write.
I take the lumen print out of the sun and shelter it from light under a book. The afternoon is drawing to a close and it is time for a walk. We step out and soon I see my first flag. It takes me a minute to register the presence of the flag with VE Day. The importance of this day has been slipping out of my mind all day. Neighbours are spread throughout the streets in informal tea parties. I am glad to see them so far apart from one another.
Cartons of eggs fill the shelves. I grab what we need and move on. I want to do a dance, I want to be happy about having the eggs I like again but I cannot. I have to hold onto the tension inside of me until I am out and there are still the chocolates, the cereals, the breads, the sauces, the teas and coffees, the biscuits, the ice-cream, and the frozen food to go through.
I close the book and lie on my back, the grass tickling the side of my bare calf. A month ago, I would not have been able to relax in such public a place but this is life now. It is not devoid of anxiety, it is not safe, but my mind has pulled a switch. I have tried to resist the pull for the last couple of days, not wanting this to become normal but my fight was to no avail.
I lather the oil on the saddle, massaging it lovingly as if it were alive. Slowly, the leather drinks in the solution, its colour regaining a more natural tone. It isn’t the prettiest of saddle any longer. Battered by every day use, scratched by walls and other bicycles, it wears the scars of heavy use.
I want to get out but I do not really want to go for a walk. The rhythm of a walk too often help unravel my thoughts and I have thought enough for the day. Two lectures and hours of revising my writing has scrambled my brain. What I need is the speed of my bicycle, the wind in my hair, and the soothing thoughtlessness of a ride. But I can’t.