The play parks reopened and set the tone for the following week. They have this renewed allure, after months of being chained shut. My daughters yell for the hand sanitiser then take off in delight.
We check in on our friends by the water, count heads. 2 swans, 5 cygnets, 2 rats. We pause in admiration. We rush past in disgust.
We haul 3 bags of books back to the library, return them to the bottom of the stairs, wave up to our beloved librarian at the top. Are you ok? Yes we’re ok.
We own masks now – black, denim, leopard skin, neon. The girls rock theirs while we adults self-consciously avoid our reflections. It adds an extra layer of awkwardness to the grocery shop, but this is the season we’re in. The next right thing to do. (We think).
Every certain rhythm of the year has become uncertain. The sign above the stationary and lunch boxes in Asda says “School Shop”, instead of “Back to School”. We start to sort out uniforms, think about school shoes but our checklists have been replaced with question marks, every tentative plan is ‘subject to change’.
I remember my husband texting me the first indication that schools would close for at least 16 weeks. It seemed impossible. Unbelievable. There were horrified emojis exchanged. Now the return feels hard to imagine, that we might emerge from our kitchens to drop our children off at school. (To drop them anywhere).
August has some boxes filled on the calendar, it feels like we might turn some corners, subject to change.