Letters from Lockdown 6: Elle Bogle

Dear Mum,

Will you look at this mess we’re in? Such a fucking mess. Even more of a mess than when your homemade marmalade exploded all over you while you were pouring it into the jars. You know, I thought it would be the kind of mess like when all the jelly toppled over on my sixth birthday, but it stayed in the little plastic cups and just bounced across the living room floor for a bit. Everyone just laughed, promptly picked them up, and proceeded to eat them and continue with their conversation. Like that. But this mess is sticking around, to everything and everyone.

Everyone is excessively trying to wash it off in any way they can: soap, disinfectant, anti-bac (a lot of good that’s doing them…), face masks, toilet paper – so much toilet paper! Me? I’m just kind of hiding from it. From behind our front gate, behind the TV, a couple of books (shocker I know), behind the cello and the music stand, under the piano, behind the dog, in the cupboard under the stairs and behind minty smelling face masks (not the surgical kind, the spa kind from Superdrug). When I’ve watched the news for too long and things get a bit too scary, I tend to hide inside my cello case – it doesn’t always work but I can just about fit my head, shoulders, right knee and roughly eight of my toes after I’ve had a good stretch.

And when none of these things work, my duvet blocks out a lot of the mess. But sometimes the stress and the piercingly droll voice of Boris leaks through my blankets and the stain of all this chaos and weirdness seeps through. And it’s a big stain. Bigger than that ketchup one when I was four(teen). And it’s spreading; the more we try to wipe it away with toilet paper, the bigger it gets. And it’s kind of splotchy too; some areas have a darker stain than others, and for some it’s a lot harder to get it out.

You know, this is probably the only time in my life that I’m glad you’re not in it anymore. Cancer patients are one of the ‘high risk’ people and you already had far too much other shit in your lungs to be dealing with; a virus would be the cherry on top of the already wheezing and coughing cake. But if you weren’t sick, it would’ve been nice to see what you would have thought of this mess. All I know is that you’d sit outside most of the day, in the few patches of sun our garden can catch, with some knitting and a Trollope book, not unlike every other day in my childhood. So that’s what I’m doing – except the Trollope, I never got into his style, and I could never knit no matter how many times you tried to teach me! But the sitting and the sun, I’m doing quite successfully. Those are really the only things that help me forget about the stain.

I just really hope we can get this stain out and it doesn’t stay so long it becomes permanent. Not like the chocolate stain of ‘09 – I miss that cardigan every day. Something tells me Vanish isn’t going to work this time.

Love,

Elle xxx

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