#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 98

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 98

Day 98

‘I’m just tired,’ my partner says quietly. ‘Tired of being in the house all the time, tired of doing the same walks over and over again. I just want to go somewhere.’

‘I know,’ I reply offering my arms as shelter.

We have been arguing on and off all day, our voices raising, our feelings strained. Restrictions are being lifted, people are going on holidays, and we are remaining where we are. I would like to go on holiday too, to escape for a moment and forget the world we live in, but I can’t. With a diminished pay and the threat of the virus still looming, a holiday is not something I can think about.

I imagine arriving in a hotel or airbnb only to have to spend my time cleaning it, changing the sheets, disinfecting every surface and kitchen utensils we may use. It feels overkill. People are probably not doing this and they are fine, but the ‘what if’ voices in my head are loud.

I quell them often for everyday gestures and routines. I am careful. I wear a mask. I wash my hands. I carry hand gel with me at all times. But I cannot control everything. I cannot trap myself within the walls of my home. So I relax if someone passes me a little too close. This is out of my control. I head out in the car to different part of the city to collect fabric for the sewing machine. I trust that people will be responsible, safe. So far, they have been.

I do not want to let this anxiety take over me as it did. I need to be able to live in this new world and accept the threat. Holidays in unknown accommodation feel too scary for now though.

‘What about going to the beach,’ my partner ask.

I wince. I do not feel comfortable with the idea of the beach, not when campsites are reopening, when the weather is warm, and people head to the coast.

‘I don’t know,’ I reply. ‘They just don’t feel safe.’

They probably are but I don’t want to chance it. I would rather get lost somewhere in the countryside, on empty paths far from imagined crowded beaches, far from national trails, and national parks. This now feels possible even though I know paths are narrow and hedges overgrown. I have to continue pushing the boundaries of what I’m comfortable with. A few weeks ago, I would have refused to consider going out on any footpaths. Today I am ready for small unknown ones, drawn green and pink on the OS maps.

‘Let’s have a look where we can walk this week-end, yeah?’

My partner nods. We remain on the sofa for a while longer, each of us lost in our own swirling thoughts. A blackbird lands on our fence, looks left and right, but decide against our grass. It flies away, the garden still and quiet.

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