Free as in I can wander places I didn’t know existed, in my one hour of sanctioned exercise, to green hills not so far away but always covered in people with sturdy eyes and whose skin tans, more than one turning away so not for the likes of me. Now I can wait by the underpass to get in, white cane outstretched, and nobody expects me to see from 2 metres away. I am not awkward. I am considerate.
How do I feel in lockdown? I feel connected.
Phoning and zooming and writing poetic e-mails. Laughing faces in screen corners sharing scripts and talking til I run out of steam and realise I’ve been hogging the conversation with my story about how I tried to do yoga in the garden and stepped in cat shit or the guy on Tottenham High road who got chased out by security with a back of pilau rice down his trousers, scrutinising that one person who can’t turn their camera on and is just a floating name. Laughing with my America based friend that it’s only taken us eight years to finally get round to doing this. Nowhere to find. No obscure meeting place, no unexpected guests to see me at peak outdoor anxiety. People coming to me with light and sound the way I always have it.
How do I feel in lockdown? I feel fun.
Nights in with canned spirit mixers and tubs of ice cream watching everything get streamed. Best frock and photo shoot and cheers at the raunchy bits, the glamourous bits, the bits with the feminist sass. Finding the fairy wings at the back of my wardrobe and wearing them down to make breakfast because why the hell not? Rather than be the boring one who goes home early, who sneaks off somewhere to cry, worrying I’m smothering the one person I recognise or trust or whether these people will realise I need help if we get near a tunnel or a pothole.
How do I feel in lockdown?
I feel capable. I wake up to news that the world is never going to be the same again and think welcome, welcome to my world. You are sharing my life; you are giving a life you never let me have and when this is over you will take it away with so much energy so you can live your best lives again. For now, I live mine.