We should have been in Washington today. Instead we -like you- are at home. Cowering from Covid. In the early morning, after not sleeping, looking at the blue, trailless sky, we hear a jogger run past our bedroom. Awed by the regularity of the runner’s footsteps, calmed by the regularity of their breathing. The sounds fade then come back; the jogger is running round and around our block. We ponder; there is a a park opposite and cherry blossom are, again silently, blooming. Why not jog amongst the blossom? Why run round a 1970s terrace?
The smallness of things
Regardless we are glad. We lie and listen to the runner run round. Always the same cadence. The same regulated, controlled breathing. A routine. But routines are laughable, it turns out. Routines depend on repeatability, but and repeatability implies reality. But Covid has shown us that our reality is a myth. Is the runner to be admired for their refusal to cow to to reality or ridiculed for the normalcy bias? We don’t know, and, like routines, our opinion is, in the grand and the smaller schemelessness of things, meaningless. Regardless, the runner runs round and around. Creativity blurs with memory.
We rise, dress in yesterdays clothes. Cough into an elbow. Furloughed we ration the coffee. What do do today, we wonder. Same as yesterday and tomorrow: a strange kind of nothingness.
On the toilet, browsing reddit and instagram we see memes exorting us to learn a new skill, to get fit, to come out of quarantine better people than we were when it was imposed on us. Smirk and flush. Young people don’t know it gets too late to get better.
After breakfasting on custard creams, we walk along deserted suburban streets. The birds crow at the silence, mocking the parked jags. A queue outside boots, the co-op and the hardware store which refuses to close. No matter, we walk in the empty road.
An old lady mutters about a cyclist, and exercise. “He’s been out twice”, she says to no-one, as if no-one should care. As if we should all be condemned further. As if the empty roads were not enough. As if the empty skies were not enough.
cover image: Belinda Fewings