31 March 2020
Yesterday A and I went for our daily walk for fresh air. There were a few cars, those hard-work cars carrying men in twos. Some with the window down, banging on the side of the car door. There was no music on the radio. Sound for the sake of sound.
Everyone eyes each other, necks craning as far as they’ll go; social exorcisms. It feels different from usual leering: this is small talk with strangers, talking without words. I find I want to call out ‘how are you spending your nights? What are you thinking each morning before you leave your house?’
Sometimes I pass people on the street and I just want to scream, want them to scream back, for us both to be primal, to just make noise and empty our lungs. Instead I just say, ‘hello.’ Or ‘please look after yourself.’ Everyone telling everyone to look after themselves. Is this better than screaming? Probably.
A and I walked down quiet streets hand-in-hans and the sun was high above and our palms were sweat. All the houses shuttered. Every now and then we’d come across a house with children’s toys facing the street, even a sign with the words ‘HELLO!’ One sign said ‘We love you. Stay safe.’ The natural condition of humanity is to be social and to connect. I feel this more than ever. When I do see someone on the street, especially another woman and her child, all I want to do is hold her. Look at us raising children, I want to say. Look at how they smile right now. Because in the back of our minds we know that we don’t know what happens next. And that is a massive secret to keep from your child.