It’s been over hundred days since I went into isolation to protect myself. From my window, I have watched the busy streets of Manchester city centre slowly empty and then become almost bare. The streets are filling up again now. Cars and buses on the roads, people hurrying to work or going shopping and the homeless huddling down where they can.
In the rain, umbrellas crowd and bash together whilst the rain washes the dirt away. I love the sound of the rain dripping off the pipes and tapping against the window. When the window is covered in rain drops it reminds me of being in an underwater world and looking out at the above space.
My doorbell rings and I go to see who it is. A delivery! Getting the box and setting it down sends a thrill of excitement through me. Of course, I’ve been ordering things off the internet a lot more then I did before. Mainly that’s because I’d go out and buy stuff but also, I’ve been getting things to help me pass through the time.
In the box is; two novels, three dvds, a large cross stitch of a white tiger and a colouring book.
I place everything on the coffee table, look through them then place them in their new homes. I put the box out for recycling.
It’s lunchtime. There’s lots of choice for me to pick through. I’ve been getting a food box once a week, other people have also been sending me things and I’ve got a shopping delivery date sorted for once a week. Food and other supplies are not in shortage here.
The problem is I don’t feel like eating. I pat my stomach and wait to feel hungry, but I just don’t. I feel sad and pointless. I make soup but only eat half of it then I curl on the sofa and watch TV but I can’t focus on it so instead I go to sit by the window with a book and listen to the rain whilst I read.
The garden was alive. Birds were singing merrily, bees were buzzing around the blooming flowers but I wasn’t interesting. I could see the beauty of it from my back door and the way the sunlight caused a cast of shadows against the walls and flagstones.
The air was heavy with flowers, grass, damp earth and somewhere a faint hint of burnt toast. No doubt from one of my neighbours who was rushing through breakfast. I hadn’t eaten, couldn’t face the idea of food yet. I had a few sips of water and that was enough for the moment. Later, I would have a cup of tea and a biscuit.
There was nothing wanted to do today. TV was a boring old friend, going on about the same problems. The radio was a drone of sounds that washed each other out. The birds would start to annoy me soon, they seemed too happy, too caught up in spring joy.
Why couldn’t I be as happy as them? What did they do that made then feel so good?
I stepped outside, feeling the sun like hot bath water around me. The sky was a crystal blue, too pure to be real. The flowers were too brightly coloured. They swayed in the breeze as if nodding to each other. Bees visited the blooms and carried pollen away, they large fuzzy bodies cute like children’s TV characters.
I breathed deeply and sat down in a somewhat abandoned plastic garden chair.
I didn’t want to live in the shadows anymore, the light was so much better.
Autumn’s carpet lay at my feet. The trees above were almost bare having been forced to shed their coats by the strong winds. The sky was grey with rain promising clouds which would add to the water all ready on the ground.
It was the kind of brisked day I liked to go walking through the woods on. The cold reddened my skin, making me feel more alive then the summer’s heat had done. There was also so many different smells to be enjoyed; earth, wood, nut, rot, fire, damp and pine. There was nothing like the scents of autumn!
I could imagine my old dog going crazy through the crisp and crunchy leaves, chasing birds and squirrels. She would also find conkers and acorns to chew up then the biggest sticks to demanded me to throw.
My wife too would have loved this. Autumn was her favourite kind of year and she would cook the most wonderful of foods; stews, soups, hotpots, apple pies, pumpkin pies, fruit pies, ginger biscuits and so much more. She said autumn was her season and you couldn’t beat it.
Alone I now wandered, walking paths once filled with happiness. Autumn makes me both happy and sad, able to forget the hurt and remember more deeply. Out here, I can pretend my wife and dog are just over there, playing in the leaves and laughing amongst the trees.
(This story was inspired by the below ASMR sound video)