Day 16: The window is open and the world is swimming in

It is 7.51pm.

My window is wide, attempting to swallow the world; to suck it through its gaping, starving mouth and gulp it into my room. I am opening my own mouth to it – glugging in the nectar of birdsong, sipping the soupy sky – the seep of it like whiskey across the grass.

It is 7.56pm and I cannot stay long because I have letters to write and cards to illustrate and I still want to go for yet another walk because I cannot be indoors when it is so delicious to be outside and I want to do a pilates class or a yoga class or these barre exercises everyone seems so obsessed with and on top of this there are emails I should have sent but didn’t and I promised sister we would play cards tonight and I promised brother I would watch the videos he sent me and I still haven’t called other sister or that friend and by then it will be time to take the laundry out of the machine and hang it up and with that goes twenty minutes of deciding which podcast or playlist to listen to while completing this fifteen minute task except whichever I choose it will be wrong and anyway someone will walk in and start talking to me so the whole thing is really very pointless and then surely I will be tired because I was up so early to drink in the sunrise and walk and then run only so I would now feel as if I never walked and need to walk again and then there is the puzzle behind me, a taunting 100 pieces from completion and then there is the question of the news and keeping up to date with it all and taking some decisive action to better this mess of a world but then that will make me more tired and too sad to sleep and then I won’t do my job tomorrow and there’s the book I want to read and the book I want to write and I keep pushing off all of these things and a billion things more as I sit at this desk and stare out this window and think of nothing and everything while the whiskey runs away, like a spilled drink on a sloped bar counter, and it all gets darker, like the pub lights as we switch from evening to possibility and still I know it will be 9pm, then 10pm and I will have accomplished nothing and everything, all while sitting here, feeling guilty for the cake I ate instead of lunch, the messages I didn’t reply to or never sent, the items on the should-do list I meant to touch but didn’t and the remembrance, only coming to me now through the shockwaves of next door neighbours’ footballs, the thud of their play, that I never brushed my teeth today; then at 11pm I will pack all these things up, I will put away the things not done, or not done well enough and spend an hour touring the house to say goodnight and feel grateful to have a family so large and wonderful to wish sweet dreams to and yet long for the nights when no goodnights were required, no explanation for your departure needed, no excuse or reason for your absence from the living room or kitchen or reluctance to learn a new board game so late at night and I will think that I have scattered them – these thoughts of the things to do, things not yet done, dismantled them in my own dismantle for bed but discarding clothes is not discarding thoughts and like a bad date I will bring them to bed with me and tomorrow I will ask them politely to leave and maybe they will for a while, as I exercise in the dawn or write out my to-do list but by lunch they will be back again, in the grease collecting in hair follicles, in the mascara that always flecks my cheeks like freckles and tomorrow evening it will be the same and when sister asks if I can play cards I will say ‘no’ because I will be busy, busy with the things I have always been busy with, busy with the paralysis between present and future, this rushing from moment to moment to forgetting of oneself for one, two, three hours and I don’t know if this is quarantine or if this is life but this feels like all I am – a girl who will sit with the window wide open, waiting for the world to swim in, waiting to throw herself out, caught between the two and never knowing the better and now the sun is one ball of luminescence and the air is really very cold and my eyes are heavy from screen-staring because all I do in quarantine is stare at things – the puzzle, the books, this diary, the screens of my personal and professional ethers, the garden, the hand of cards dealt – and I am developing a frown, a jagged abyss beginning between my eyebrows and slicing itself to prominence until it deep dives into my hairline and I shouldn’t care because people are dying but I do and it is 8.22pm now and my fingers are seizing and the light is almost gone and one more day is lost to me forever and I am watching it go, like the parent watching their child leave home for the first time, like the toddler watching their parent leave the room, never knowing if and when they’ll come back again.

It is 8.24pm. Today, I read, I ran, I swam, I ate cake in the sun. It wasn’t enough because for me it is never enough but it was everything. Every day is everything.

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