COVID-19 diary 25/3/20


Then I’m awake. No, I can’t even say that: “then”. Erase that. Begin again. But I just did. What am I talking about? So then. Light is what I was first aware of, coming in from what I was slow to realise was the window, on the left hand side, flowing onto and outlining the great globe above me. I’d imagined it to be some huge satellite, or was it a mammary to suck on; but it’s only the Japanese paper lantern that hangs from the ceiling above the bed; it’s a bed that I am in, the pale sunlight streaming in on it making a brilliant crescent. It’s white, there’s gold in the picture, there’s blue there too, I’m aware of blue. Pale blue. I remember that lantern from another time. It’s still there! It’s moving ever so slightly, which makes me aware there is a breeze, the window must be ajar. Immense, golden light: like waking in a kind of a palace, or I could be in a cathedral or something, but no, it’s the early sunshine working its way through the slats of the wooden venetian blinds at the window, which have become incandescent in my imagination. I can crush the light with my eyelids, but then when I lift them there it is again. Of course, I’ve seen it many times before. I realise that now. There’s nothing to it. But what country am I in? is it the country I was born in? do I know my name? my sex, age, dimensions, identifying marks, etc? where’s the customary baggage of memories? Trying to establish the facts of the matter. Once again: day one. That is, the day on which I write this. But that would make the day of my awakening, the day I’m describing, day minus whatever. We could equally call that day one, and add the sum to the number of this day. Then I must have awoken in the early hours of that day, or this, but already I’m losing my memory of each detail of my awakening. I need to hold onto this. That’s why I am trying to write it all down now, on this day, which I name day one. I will now write about the duvet cover, with its blue and white ripples, how I can finger it now, how I can grip it with fingers which are my own, feeling the coarse substance between fingers, my fingers, my nerve endings telling my brain I am doing this, and later other things will happen, that’s all to come, but that first vision, at the point of my awakening, is of something insubstantial, something longed for but not attainable, by any effort whatsoever, even if I were able to persuade my limbs, my recalcitrant, recumbent body to move towards it, whatever it is. All right, maybe there’s no sure thing, but what I do remember for sure, what I remember now is turning over in the bed, onto my left side, facing the window and finding to my amazement your warm body close to mine. You were gazing at the ceiling, and then you turned to me, a smile in your face.

I manage to nod towards the window: What’s out there? That’s what I’m trying to ask. Actually, I just mime it, no real sound emerges. But you understand. It’s a lovely morning, you say, smiling. Yes, it’s your voice all right, I recognise it now. I consider this for some long moments. So there is an outside, in which it is morning? And it really is you, I’m sure of it, I’m certain I can hear your voice close to me. It’s such a relief to hear that. What I try to say next (but it doesn’t materialise at all) is: I’d always hoped there would be. I don’t manage that, it comes out as: “I don’t remember anything.” It doesn’t matter, you whisper. And I say, and this time I do manage to utter: Have we met?


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