#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 05
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
There was no lying in bed this morning, not if we wanted breakfast. But it wasn’t hard to get away from the duvet. It was Sunday morning and the alarm had not sounded. In spite of a bad night, I felt rested enough.
In the kitchen I quickly googled american pancake recipe. My partner had been asking for them for a few weeks but I had put off doing the actual work. Whisking the batter, I turned the radio on, and danced to the soft jazz melodies in the air.
I watched the pancake bubble in the pan, waiting a moment longer for the edges to brown and flipped it over for a minute or so. The sweet aroma of vanilla spread through the kitchen and I wondered why I didn’t make American pancakes more often.
The pancakes cooked, I poured blueberries on top, cold for me, warm for my partner. I added a dollop of yogurt, some flaxseeds, and finally a generous helping of cinnamon and honey. I carried the plates back to the bedroom. Hot tea in our mugs, plates balancing precariously on our knees, we tucked in.
Later, I told my sister about our pancake breakfast over Skype. She told me about the apéritif she had had with the neighbour, a wall dividing them as they each sat in their gardens. They were beginning to cook lunch now, the barbecue filled with coal, she showed me the meat and vegetables that were about to be roasted. We carried on chatting about life at home with the children, the creative projects I’d been working on, and whatever else we could think about. My nephew asked when I would be coming to visit, a question he asked relentlessly. I could almost smell the food as we talked. Lamb chops for the adults, pork chops for the children, and roasted courgettes and potatoes for all. In another life, I could have been sitting with them, the stones of the terrace warmed by the sun. There would be the faint echo of a tractor in a field far off, a church bell ringing the hour, and the children running wild in the garden all around. I would be sitting with my sister, a glass of wine in hand. We’d talk about this and that, her husband joining in for some banter in between flips of the meat. I’d closed my eyes under my sunglasses, nodding along to the conversation but really only focused on those early warm rays of sunshine.
It was easy being at her house. Every moment of quiet squeezed dry before the children invaded our space again. And then every moment with my niece and nephew cherished as if it were the last because I knew I wouldn’t see them for another year at best. Lunches were an outdoor affair, relaxed and easy. And evenings spent in the living room watching our favourite films or whatever was showing on television that night.
But I was not at my sister’s house. There was only the lingering smell of honey and vanilla around me and the fresh breeze coming through the open window. Outside, the neighbours were having a picnic in their garden, their young baby crying, the elder son chattering away.
I called my mom and we caught up on the two days we hadn’t spoken to one another. My step-father was lounging on the sofa, reading with his motorbike magazine. Bonnie, their border collie, was waiting at the kitchen door for someone to throw a ball at her. I imagined throwing it again and again, Bonnie delighting in having another playmate to entertain her. I’d be dragged further into the garden, would run around for a while, and eventually my arms sore, I’d retreat inside to help my mom prepare lunch. I’d be tasked with peeling the apples and readying them for the apple tart that would accompany coffee after lunch. My step father would then disappear on the sofa for a post-lunch nap while my mom and I would do the dishes. The kitchen sparkling, Bonnie would lead us to the woods for a leisurely walk and an opportunity to discuss our lives further. Evenings would be simple, another good meal, possibly some whisky, and eventually we’d go to bed where I’d read for a long while before falling asleep.
The oven rang in my mom’s house and we said our goodbyes. Sitting at the desk in the study, I closed my eyes and listened. Every day of late had sounded like Sunday outside. People had mowed their loans, hammered away at their latest DIY projects while their children played in the streets and gardens. Music blared occasionally from a distant house. But today was truly Sunday and I could join in the atmosphere. I idled on YouTube, catching up with my ‘Watch Later’ playlist and being reminded of a world without Covid-19. Later, I settled on the sofa to play Pokémon on the television. My stomach grumbling, I called to my partner still upstairs, to ask if she wanted lunch. We toasted some bread, grilled some bacon, sliced some avocados, fried an egg, and sprinkled it all with ancho chilli before retreating to the sofa to watch Great British Menu. I stayed on for a bit getting caught up in the programme before moving upstairs to write.
I stared out of the window for a while, watched some more YouTube videos, and eventually opened a Word document.
Later I would return to the sofa, turn the Nintendo Switch on or watch a Columbo before settling in for the evening. There would be nothing urgent to do, not as long as it was Sunday.
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