Letters From Lockdown 82: Elinor Austin

Hi Lovely,

I watched everyone scramble to ready for another lockdown, and I thought about how hard it’s going to be for you to do this all again, with the darkness closing in before the day feels done.

But here’s the thing – lockdown never ended for me. When our world opened up again in dribs and drabs, I didn’t emerge with you. I stayed in my carefully constructed cave full of houseplants and books about magic and mystery and the past (books that take me away from here and now).

My life under this lockdown is no different to my life under the last lockdown, and no different to the months in between. From the very beginning, it has been too dangerous to be anything else.

I’ll not lie, the photos you shared of drinks out and “socially distanced meet-ups” made me a little sad and a little angry. I’m sad because I didn’t get to make those memories with you. I’m angry because it’s the people going out, in part, who have locked me in my own home.

Make no mistake, I understand the healing properties of human connection, and I’m glad your friends could be a balm for your mental health. But I can’t help the kernel of bitterness that festers inside me because I’ve been deprived of that same healing. The last time I hugged you was the last time I hugged anyone other than my mum. That was 9 months ago. 35 weeks ago. 245 days ago.

A life for a life, I suppose. You (and so many others) lived your life and so I (and so many others) must stay locked out of sight.

And this bitterness builds every time a person on the telly or a public figure or a friend alludes to the disposability of people at risk. I raise my hand now, and say, “that faceless vulnerable person who should be shut away so that you can enjoy your pre-COVID freedoms? That’s me.” Thank you everyone who’s let me know how they really feel, I guess.

But that’s not your problem, you’ve got enough to deal with. And I’m here for you, whether you turn to me or not (I know the distance between us is hard). Just know that I’m thinking of you, as I have since the beginning. It’s going to be tough, but I have absolute faith you’re going to get though this. A little bruised and battered by the end, perhaps, but whole.

As you’ve heard me say so many times, you’ve got this, lovely.

And I hope I do too.

All my love,

Elinor x

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