Except Love

A mediation … three phased isolation alone

Except Love.

Phased Lockdown.

It doesn’t matter if the list of lockdown must-haves is still unticked; the Zumba-Zoom’s un-clicked, the ceiling not yet painted; Mandarin not yet mastered. Days might have passed in shock, surfing the net and chasing the facts, weeks spent unravelling life as it used to be lived, reflecting on personal history, rewriting the narrative.

The advice, to adhere to a stable routine, might not have been easy to stick to. A different biorhythm and the need to feel a sense of still being connected, while living quite alone, might have led to days spent on the phone, and WhatsApp video chats criss-crossing time zones when bedtime’s still lunchtime, and a day might reach across two, dawn turned to dusk.

bA shift occupies resistance with hope, turning sight to all that might be saved, reclaimed and resurrected, once again: afterwards; after this, in the notional change of phrase, as we move from yellow and red to yellow and green, the sign says go but don’t. Death seems to recede. If swerved or narrowly missed, this time, Mortality demands attention be given not to what might be resurrected, after Covid, but to all that lost in an ending, and what is worth remembrance, passing-on to others left.

A three-fold recalibration of life lived, jolted into process, jarred, un-folds through the shock of rapid alteration to routine in response to the viral threat to all human life. Lockdown’s abrupt arrest of habitual behaviour convenes internal juries to examine evidence – take note of former acts – unfolding and exposing attitudes tailored to blindly trusted tracts underwriting Acts. The third and final pleat, un-creased and disentangled from the woven tapestry, looms before judgement, a void a measured sentence served on worth.

Unconsciously the home is cleared for death, of course. The children’s memories filed and ribboned shut; secret lovers’ letters shredded, the house readied for a move, crated, boxed before disposal. And so the ready reckoned day arrives. The complex web of unaccounted endings, pensioned as employments changed, dating back to 1993 when last examined, crossing a millennia, a rounded purgatory of paperwork, filed in dread, on hold and stuck in cyber space.

It is the moment for squared paper, sheets spread and squandered hours of looped new passwords, robot checks and pin codes but finally, the sum of possibilities totals all. A day and night’s calculation find that almost an entire year of life has been consumed in accounting paraphernalia, time not spent lying on the floor looking at the ceiling, which gives no uplift. The Spirit, here for the human journey not a body in search of its ghost, quakes when faced with the balance sheet’s deficit, despite its host’s attention to tomorrow; provision is not quite, as is nothing else, as has been imagined.

It takes a while for Mind, Body and Spirit to adjust to the notion that they must survive for 9 years, or more, beyond retirement to claim two pounds eighty pence a month from various now combined pensions of a chequered past, although there’s just one antidote to pain. A sweetener. Since the core plan was carefully selected and sold by a man in too much Lynx and too little suit, back in 1992, the policy promise is that it will pay two pounds twenty two for twelve months after death, to pay for a final ‘Do’.

It is difficult for either Mind, Body, Spirit, two, all three or any being at all to retain a summary-sense that investing in a pension for 20 years is a better idea than working in Mac Donald’s in lieu of 5 days’ annual leave.

Lockdown’s blue. Phase one’s shock to the system was worrying enough, even though it turned out, after all, it was ok to stop rushing about and the sky didn’t fall. Also while most of life had been a bit of a mystery, made possible by a constant source of distractions in the form of friends, pubs and parties disguised as work, conferences and having a social life, it seems it might all have been a bit of a sham; yet still, it’d be nice to have one of those fancy coffees with stuff on top of it in a place with grey walls and cushions, to take the pain away. It stings like an intimate waxing job. To rub salt in wounds, it becomes evident that not only were GCSEs and A levels entirely dispensable but also that saving for a pension was a lot less sensible than getting a paper-round for a fortnight. The spirit loses The Will.

In order to be ready to fully embrace isolation phase three when it arrives, just prior to the second wave of Covid19 in the Autumn, it is perhaps wise, and inevitable that courage will have to be garnered, to recover and review The Will. This is an exercise in story-writing in itself with its caveats and what ifs that really push the envelope. Is the two pounds twenty two per calendar month in the year following death to be divided equally between beneficiaries – and what about the fraction in the distribution of savings of £333? And is there a charity, perhaps, should both beneficiaries predecease this final ending?

And that’s the bottom and top of it.
Everything that seemed to matter doesn’t.

Except love.

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