It has been eight weeks since our two week lockdown began. 

I woke up with no idea of what day it was. I watched the condensation trail down the single pane glass windows. I could feel the cold air that had successfully infiltrated the wooden window frames. Our estate agent was unwilling to cooperate with us on making any significant changes to the heating of our apartment. 

You saw the house before you moved in…” she said. 

But that was in the summer, when large windows and brick walls made the place both full of light and the perfect temperature. My boyfriend of four months and I moved to Melbourne, three weeks before the start of lockdown. We moved into our current abode on a whim because we were desperate for somewhere to live, our pandemic tinted glasses overlooked the need for a  washing machine drainage system. The first time we used the machine our bathroom flooded. Now, the long grey pipe at the back of the machine is carefully taped down in the pink coloured bath. 

As usual, I groggily began my day by spending an hour scrolling through multiple social media apps on my phone, waking further with each swipe of my right thumb. First,  I  checked the time and day on my phone; I discovered it was 8.05 am and Wednesday the 13th of May. Then, I clicked the blue twitter icon and pressed the news tab button. Searching for updates in Victoria, I found out some of the restrictions had been eased due to the state having only seven new Covid19 cases. Yet, the bubble of hope expanding in my chest  soon popped when I realised none of them apply to me.  Now, I was able to visit family and friends, of which I have none in this country. Also, I am allowed to go hiking, fishing, or to the country club to play a round of golf…I am not an outdoorsy person. Before changing to another more escapitive social media site, I decided to see what was happening in my home country; 159 new confirmed cases in Ireland. 

Frustrated, I rolled out of bed, and threw on my dressing gown. It felt strange to be so cold in May. I made my way to the toilet where I sat and scrolled through my newest obsession: TikTok. The best distraction from the mundanity of the pandemic. 

Remembering it was Wednesday, I realised I needed to minimally prepare myself for my zoom class. I had moved halfway across the world to study, after all. It was my only class of the week, and my only interaction with people this side of the world.  I log on, and watch as the screen becomes filled with squares filled with the faces of people I have never met in person. “How tall are my classmates?” I wonder if I give the impression that I am tall although I am only 5’2. After this morning’s class on ‘how to find literature relevant to your field of research’,  I thankfully went back to bed. 

Before gently falling into a light slumber, I thought about how nothing felt real anymore. My life is confined to this one bedroom apartment. I could be anywhere? More importantly,  I could be back home with my parents. They have no other children to take care of if either of them become ill with Covid. A sombre idea that plagues me daily.  

An hour or so later, my semi-employed boyfriend coaxes me awake, and hands me an encouraging smile as he brings me a cup of Barry’s tea, a little taste of home. He has finished all of his sales calls for the day.  He climbs into bed beside me, bringing his laptop and the chopping board he uses as a mouse pad. 

“Fancy some breakfast?” he asks. 

I look at the time, it is two in the afternoon. “No lunch today so.” I attempt a joke. Our conversations are mostly the same, always centering on food. 

Forcing myself to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed, I take the time to make my new favourite aussie breakfast: smashed avo. 

“Is it too early for a glass of wine?” I ponder to myself before reaching inside the cupboard for the five litre box of wine, and turn the plastic tap. The cheap red wine dribbles into my Ikea wine glass. The liquid stops. 

“Fuck,” I mutter. “We’re nearly out of wine!” yelling to my boyfriend who’s watching god-knows-what on YouTube in the sitting room. 

“I’ll go to Woolies later!” 

Irritated, I pried the shiny silver bag from the box and played it like a bagpipe to get the last precious drops from inside. 

As I eat I reflect about how much the world has changed, I cannot fly home and I do not know when I’ll see my parents again. I now hoard toilet paper like its gold. Everything has changed but every day remains the same; the apocalypse doesn’t happen fast.

 Post-dinner, I flee to the balcony to catch a glimpse of reality. Sitting on a badly painted blue chair, I think about how it all sounds the same. Cars continue chasing. Lights lit up. People laughing and talking like normal. Reaching towards the similarly painted table, I pick up the lighter.  

“Hi Dad!”  I answer the buzzing phone. 

“What’s the news?”

“Not much. You?”

“I’m just sitting here with Rainbow.” he turns the phone away from his face. 

“Hello my precious, do you miss me?” I ask, looking at a blurry black and white cat. 

“She has her grumpy grandad face on her,”’ says my father’s voice. 

Video chatting is the worst. I have to smile when all I want to do is cry. But I cannot tell him how I feel. If I tell him it means it’s real.  

The rest of the evening is a blur of television and wine, before I begin my twenty minute skincare routine. 

I settle into bed sheets that haven’t been washed since I was free to sit in a restaurant. I lie in bed and hope tomorrow will be different. “I will wake up early, I will exercise, I will get healthy, and I will not smoke or drink alcohol.” 

My nightly mantra never changes, and neither do I.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s