#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 76

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 76

Day 76

‘There qre so many roots,’ I complain as I pull another one out of the ground.

I hadn’t intended to remain long in the garden. I only wanted to get some currants but the sight of newly grown weed had made me stay. ‘Do you know what those are,’ I ask my partner as she joins me by the currant tree.

‘Which ones?’

‘Those.’ I point to the star shaped leaves that sprawl through our grass.

‘I don’t know. I’ll have a look though.’ My partner retires to the living room to find the name of the plant while I carry on pulling at the leaves and attempt to remove their roots but their strong brown stems are spread through the ground in a labyrinth like fashion. I pull as many as I can, careful to avoid the growing leaves of the wild flowers seeds I planted earlier in the month.

I leave that patch of earth alone and move to the one along the fence we share with the neighbour. There is nothing growing there that we like so I take the spade and turn the earth over. On my knees, I sort through the ground, removing the roots and watching worms wriggle into new abode. I don’t seem to have injured any.

‘Have you found out about the plant yet,’ I ask my partner on my way to our green bin, my hands filled with the remain of the weed.

‘No, I can’t find it.’

‘Ah well…’ For now the weed will have to remain unnamed.

After a shower, I settle in the study to work on Queer Out Here but as I’m about to put my headphones on, my phone rings.

‘Hello,’ I answer quizzically.

‘Is this the mutual aid group?’

‘Yes, yes it is,’ I reply after a pause. ‘What can we do for you?’

‘There’s a lady in a street nearby that needs help with getting her shopping done.’

We carry on talking, my mind slowly shifting into gear. It has been weeks since anyone has reached out to the mutual aid group this way. I call the lady who need help, S. and run through the routine of questions I have. No, she doesn’t have the Internet, but yes, she does have some cash. I wonder again how the government is helping people like her who are not connected to the world online. We carry on chatting for a while after the essential is dealt with.

The conversation over, I take to the WhatsApp group to ask for a volunteer. With most people back to work, I am unsure anyone will come forth. By evening, no one has answered my message. I send an e-mail to J. who is in charge of the neighbourhood watch and mutual aid group, hoping she can spread the request through the mailing list.

‘We might have to go shopping for S.,’ I tell my partner as I check my phone before going to bed. ‘No one has answered yet.’

‘Okay,’ she replies hesitantly.

‘I know. I don’t really want to go either but we can’t leave S. with no food.’

Neither of us are keen to get to the shop before we have to. S. specified a shop we haven’t been to since lockdown began, the layout and rules there unfamiliar to both of us.

‘There’s still tomorrow though,’ I add trying not to think about breaking the routine of my perceived bubble of safety.

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