It’s the thing at the moment, isn’t it, to talk about what we’re all missing. You know: where we’ll going, what we’ll eat, and who will get that very first hug on the day lockdown is over. On the down-days, anyway. On the up-ones, we’re all lavish Facebook posts, boasting about nurturing our mental health, our children, our house-plants, our sourdough starters…Go on, admit it!
I thought I was going to miss you – really, I did. Maybe not all of you. Not the tumbling out of a sodden, night-sweated bed with the 6 o’clock news. Not the endless clock-watching to make sure you’re in more or less the right place at approximately the right time – the juggling jinx, you called it, didn’t you? And not the people; oh God, not all the people.
Have I said too much? I’m usually so circumspect, aren’t I? Not any longer, actually. That’s what lockdown can do to a girl, you see – it can open her up. And face it, two months on, it appears I don’t miss you.
I don’t miss you at all.
Not only that but I’m learning to love the woman that lockdown has made you – ah, no! Not made you, because you always, always, have been that woman. It’s more that this surreal, topsy-turvy and indefinite time of our lives has allowed you to be you.
Everyone loves beautiful, bright spring days, don’t they? But you’re no longer weird because you like them best inside out – sitting at an open window; a ripple of breeze, circling gulls, good coffee and a good book. You’re no longer weird because you don’t mind that your nine year old isn’t in a field, on a court, in a crowd, having his character built. Now you’re plain lucky he’d rather build it with LEGO and paints and…and…alright, yes: with Screen Time; that snake in paradise that isn’t inevitably poisonous, after all.
Of course I miss the ease of the daily life you had – walking to work, buying fresh bread, breathing communal air – and, I wish, more than anything, I wish it had never come to this, a global pandemic of fear and loss, to show you your private strengths.
But you? The woman you once presented to the world? Like I said, I don‘t miss her at all. And that’s a good thing.
Be you, always.
Extract from a virtual workshop series, kindly funded by TNL_Awards For All
Image: Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window - Henri Matisse