November 1, 2020 § 1 Comment
For want of anything better to do during the dark days of November, lockdown #2, I’m going to post 30 stories of 30 words. Stories is probably an exaggeration. More like 30 collections of 30 words.
30. 30th November
Maureen has her tree up by the end of November. It’s very early, but what the Hell? Of course, she’s eaten her first set of chocolate decorations by December 1st.
29. 29th November
Dr. Falade misses church. As a physician, she supports the restrictions, but these online services leave her cold. She thinks of her family in Ibadan, and has an unscientific cry.
28. 28th November
Benny’s dad snorts when he hears his son is being released on a home detention curfew tag.
“Where’s the punishment? We’re all under a bloody curfew.”
His mum’s happy though.
27. 27th November
Jo raises her head and sneezes. She feels heavy, her throat sore. “Is this it?” she whispers
“Maybe you just have a cold,” says Ash.
“Do people still get colds?”
26. 26th November
Before this, when Becky thought about tiers, it was for her wedding cake. Three or four? But they’ve postponed twice this year already and now tiers are only bad news.
25. 25th November
Rose wakes early. She has been dreaming of a Christmas bubble. Yesterday, she messaged her two brothers. “So, three households? Seems we’re about to find out who mum likes least.”
24. 24th November
Seeing herself on the Zoom call, Pam examines her hair. “I look like the blond guy in ‘Spinal Tap’,” she thinks. It’s a difficult moment. “I need to start bothering.”
23. 23rd November
“Junk email can fill an hour,” Katie says when Jessica moans there is nothing to do.
“But then I worry about my ‘Blood Sugar Blueprint’.”
“It’s a change from Covid.”
22. 22nd November
Dave messages the family WhatsApp group. “I’ve had stay at home message on the app.”
His mother replies with a photograph of a puppy. “To cheer you up.”
21. 21st November
Halfway through lockdown, Debs Silver starts calling talk radio shows. She’s never done so before, but living alone, her views on Christmas or pay for care workers are going unheard.
20. 20th November
You have to mark the weekend somehow so on Fridays, they have dinner delivered. Choosing occupies too much of their time. All day really. And it’s consumed before the watershed.
19. 19th November
The school calls just after lunch. Brody in Year 4 has tested positive. “He’s burst the flippin’ bubble,” says the school secretary. “I’m sorry.”
Martha pours herself a midday whisky.
18. 18th November
On every Zoom, Shaheed sounds like a dalek. But he’s a director, so who will tell him? “It’s the lockdown equivalent of food in your boss’s teeth,” says finance Bev.
17. 17th November
She wakes at 2am. In the fridge, there is a pork pie and a box of grapes. Wide awake, she picks at the pastry and thinks about monoclonal antibody cocktails.
16. 16th November
Jed misses old Tom and Charlie “Two Teeth”. He would try phoning but unless they are nursing pints at The Bulls Head, he has no idea how to find them.
15. 15th November
They take a walk. The benches round the Coffee Hut are chockablock with families.
“Why are there so many people out?” says Bernie.
“We’re out,” says Jill, rolling her eyes.
14. 14th November
In the steady rain, Maggie puts flowers on her mother’s grave. “Imagine you and I bubbling,” she says, smiling. “We would have killed each other long before Covid got us.”
13. 13th November
Khalid misses going to the match. It’s ok this weekend. An “international break.” But still, it sucks. He keeps his season ticket in his wallet and spends the weekend wandering.
12. November 12th
In the student house, they discuss going home for Christmas. AJ says he’ll get test. “My nan’s in a wheelchair and, like killing her would be a bad Christmas vibe.”
11. November 11th
Mrs Kelper stands on her doorstep at 11 o’clock. She presses Davy’s medal against her chest. No one ever wants to remember Belfast. He’d have been a grandfather by now.
10. November 10th
The trouble is, he says, it’s all one long day. “Without work, what tells me it’s Monday?” His therapist nods. “And so you forgot to come last week?” He smiles.
9. November 9th
Toby wanted to eat the donut, but not on Zoom. Yesterday, the jam had burst over the camera. To his colleagues on the call, it was a strawberry jam massacre.
8. November 8th
Walk for two minutes, run for five. Shabana is trying couch to 5k again. It’s darker this time, autumn leaves under foot. As she runs, she tries to remember normal.
7. November 7th
Kathy’s mum, a Tory, sends a WhatApp. “I miss your real-life face. But I won’t miss his stupid, orange one.” Kathy, who tries to ignore her mum’s politics, starts sobbing.
6. November 6th
Today Monique will quit. She’s heard that if you’re a smoker and you catch the virus, the doctors don’t try so hard. She breathes in and out. Worth a try.
5. November 5th
When the Sainsbury’s Big Issue girl disappeared, Beverley no longer bothered. On the first day of lockdown, going for groceries, she saw Raymond, and thought it time to start again.
4. November 4th
He started cooking during the last lockdown. Before, he’d never heard of borlotti beans and, while his single pot recipe was flawless, he kind of regretted his increased bean knowhow.
3. November 3rd
Second lockdown and they fear the “Any Old Iron,” “We’ll Meet Again” woman from across the way will start her street concerts again. Who will tell her it’s not helping?
2. November 2nd
Last year, Kumar calculated he spent £420 on takeout cappuccinos. Too much. Today, working at home, with the children and the dog and his Mrs, now it doesn’t seem enough.
- November 1st
“Remember when the Daily Mail had never heard of virologists?”
“And you said that going to a virology conference in Klosters was skiing on the rates?”
“I miss those days.”