When I was much younger I had a relationship with a married woman that was destructive for both of us.
For her, it was a reckless response to an unhappy marriage. For me, it was a hopeless attempt at finding something I wasn’t ready for.
Whenever she could get away, she would come to my house, park up on the road and toot her horn. If I were in my bedroom, I would look out of my garret window, run down the stairs, and get into the car.
At first, it was exciting and seductive, but as time wore on, I found myself staying at home more often in case she drove by. I began to imagine the toot of a horn and look out expecting to see her little car, but it would not be there.
I was still waiting when she left her husband.
Having not heard from her for weeks, I called from the phone box at work. She took an age to answer because she’d been in bed with her new boyfriend.
I still waited.
My daughter wrote a song about her grandmother who has just gone into a care home after a time in hospital.
“I’m having trouble with the melody and it’s really annoying me,” she tells me.
“Send it to me and I’ll see if I have any ideas,” I say.
“What? Try and sing it and record that? You’ll probably have to replace your ears afterward,” she replies
It turns out that she has a lovely voice that I’ve not really heard before. Her song is about letting go of someone when they want to leave.
In the park, I bump into my sister and we catch up from a safe distance while the dogs run together.
“When people get to the end of their lives they don’t want to be separated from their families because a year in isolation might be a huge proportion of the time they have left,” she says.
Sometimes we take time away from ourselves and sometimes time is taken from us.
My son and his girlfriend, who is locked down with us, are sitting in the sun on the decking drinking tea and eating shortbread.
It still feels like a weekend when you’re still able to work.
“It’s annoying when the media is full of ideas for you to use up your time in lockdown. I don’t feel as if I have any more available than usual.” I say, reading an article about a man climbing the equivalent of Everest by going up and down his own stairs.
I feel grateful that I’m occupied, but I think about my daughter and how she has seemed low in the past few days.
Today I’m going to ask her to help me plant the climbing beans and make some almond cookies so that she doesn’t have to wait around for the toot of a horn that may not come.