Lockdown. A short story by Tara Thompson

The blue glove tumbles in the air again. The indented dirty tyre mark clear, as it floats along in the middle of the road.
Discarded plastic gloves become a more regular sight, a sign of peoples distaste on wearing them. They want to immediately throw them away almost to validate how begrudging it is to have to wear them.

Week 7 of the lockdown, week 7 of people’s life’s being interrupted. Working from home and managing the challenges that presents.
Parents with the juggling act of now becoming teacher and parent. Those who live on their own trying to constantly reach out, for some form of social interaction. Cocoons’ who can’t leave their houses at all and, making the daily walk in their gardens something of an adventure.

The distancing and almost panic of the supermarket. Negotiating the shopping trolley out of people’s way has become a kind of assault course. People are behaving in different ways. There’s the full on Haz-suit wearing, don’t come near me types, who nearly moon-dance away from you the minute they see you coming.
Then there’s the nonchalant types, not really bothered. Pottering about the aisles with not a care in the world. Certainly not obeying any 2 metres distance requirement and casually reaching across you in the aisle in a breezy way.

The conversations with your colleagues, neighbours, families and friends become the same. “What are you doing now”? “Any plans this weekend?” (Said with a scoff and a laugh). The constant speculation of when this will pass. Will it be lifted soon? Will life begin to return to “normal”? When can we see each other again? The jokes about being unrecognisable due to the overindulgence of Food, and the lack of access to Beauticians/Hairdressers/Barbers. The unending forwarding of “memes” and humorous images of what we will all “look” like when this is all over.

The missed occasions; birthdays, anniversaries, communions, confirmations, funerals. Somehow missing such important events evokes more emotion than you could have ever imagined before. It brings a lot to the surface. Not being able to be there, properly there. Not just whilst chatting over a garden wall or a gate. The yearning for that hug. Holding onto the knowledge though that when this is all over, the hugs you will give your Loved ones will be of a whole different scale. Affectionate, Warm, Long, Protective, Heartfelt.

The strangers who you meet on daily walks who have become a reassuring presence. The little wave or the acknowledging nod of the head. Sometimes combined with the odd exaggerated sigh or shrug whilst you both smile awkwardly and continue on your way, 2 metres apart of course.

The dread of the 6 O’clock news, which becomes something of a routine. Sitting down and eagerly awaiting today’s numbers. Cases confirmed, Deaths. The number of deaths are rattled off in a very routine manner. Brief condolence’s to those who have passed. The inconceivably short lived attention or thought that is given to this daily statement is remarkable. A moment maybe of contemplation which quickly follows with thoughts of, what’s for dinner, shall I exercise tonight, do I really need a shower?

The pop of the cork from the wine bottle at 4pm (or earlier). Sure isn’t is 5 O’clock somewhere? The video calls and group chats. The constant requirement to feel socially engaged. The Zoom calls, and the “parties” The getting really dressed up and feeling great, to take that call or that photo just so someone can have seen you today, looking nice. This quickly follows by the mixed emotions of getting back into your pyjamas with a full face of makeup and hair that has been laboriously worked on for hours.

The chats about how a pandemic brings out the “best” or “worst” in people. Those who are using the time in an artistic, creative way. Trying to rouse that expressive, imaginative side of themselves that maybe normally doesn’t get seen.
Those who are melancholy and despondent. Not really wanting to start anything. Those who watching the news with vigour and spend their time worrying a lot.
Those who exercise every-day without fail and look amazing and are energetic and lively. While making others feel inadequate while they reach for another biscuit.

The conversations about the plans you will make and the things you will do when this is all better, the lockdown lifted. The endless lunches, brunches, spontaneous coffees and meet ups. The nights out, the weekends away. The thoughts of being able to fly again. Once more, to the places you love so dearly.
Thoughts and dreams of better days to come….


Total amateur who is trying to use the lockdown as a time to rekindle her love of writing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *