It’s been one month since I sat down to write a blog post which I never ended up finishing. It is nearly the end of June now; it is summer. The world is soft and green, stretching out like the perfect lawn in front of the perfect house, or else like a very fine afternoon, or a very soft blanket. I’m 29 now, and in a new relationship, and applying for a Masters program at the University of Edinburgh. I’ve also had one dose of the vaccine and sat in bars, bookshops, and restaurants. I’ve felt very happy, felt very confused, felt like I stood up for myself and then felt like I should have done a better job of it.
The world is slowly getting out of lockdown but people are still getting sick. The numbers go up, and then they go down, and it seems like everytime we’re almost in the clear, we’re back at square one. I stopped listening to the news, and then I started again. It’s always a mumble jumble, trying to pick up the story where you last left off. Too many plot twists, new characters, abrupt scene changes. You close the door and shut out the world for a brief moment – and when you emerge, it’s still somehow startling to realize that life went on without you.
For the past six days, I’ve been in self-isolation. I haven’t left the apartment but I’ve stood with the window flung wide open listening to fans shouting over a soccer game, and the rowdy young people next door having a party, and the construction worker speaking to his friend across the way. I’ve stood on the balcony eating lunch, watching delivery trucks come and go, and people walking their dogs, and friends climbing into cars with friends. All of this, I’ve observed from a distance, half-desperate to rejoin society, half-reluctant to face the world again.
When I eventually leave, I’ll be 10 days older, it’ll be Sunday, the plants in my neighbour’s garden will be taller. Because life always goes on, urgently and dramatically, with great bursts of fireworks or no noise at all, even when we think it won’t. That’s the miracle.