By Louisa Fairbrother
Written in June 2020 during the Lockdown
Time waits for no one.
I am new to London, I know, most people are. It’s the ‘Rat race’ it’s The ‘Dog eat dog’ and all of us are enwrapped in it’s ‘Big smoke’ desperately trying to survive it’s animalistic tendencies. I was loving it, foaming at the mouth and ready to lose myself in it’s world of metaphor. I navigated the busy streets successfully and negotiated with the man who, whilst enraging into himself and nearly pushing me down the stairs shouted ‘bitch’ whilst I sagely proffered ‘We are all in it together,’ his resolve was to scream something inaudible at me. I felt his pain, London was so woefully detached and anonymity was why people liked it. It was my birthday on 7th March; I’d made new friends, I also invited old ones and we dined and drunk unaware of uncertain times.
My last day of work was 21st March 2020. Those last 2 days felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff wondering when I would just drop because I knew somehow, everything would be changed forever. During a trauma, a fight and a blow to the face, time slows down; our perception of time warps and yet, at exactly the same time it was such a frenzy; London.
That evening I arrived finally home and closed my door.
That was the last time we closed our doors on that time of our lives.
Door after door across the city closing, you could almost hear the musicality in the air of echoes of closed doors.
Then everything just stopped.
Time Time Time Time Tick Tick Tick Tick
The truth is I’m not sure how ‘together’ I was feeling, I was still an ‘I’ after all and the term ‘Mind the Gap’ took on a few new meanings. As independent as I am, I never meant to be this alone.
Time goes by so slowly and Time can do so much…
I’ve lost track of everything,
Time seems harder to get through when one lacks meaning and I was starting to lack everything, it started to feel like grief.
Take me to another time.
Loss is a deep well of heavy old velvet navy blue, and the grieving of small, unnoticeable at first, parts of my life have been felt so acutely with the empty plate of endless time that is loneliness.
Everything around us keeps moving still, the pace of time, the walkers in the park, the benches with plaques. Is all we see just footprints of Time?
Everything just happens in Time doesn’t it? Maybe now was the Time for me face Time somehow, stop fighting it, avoid bemoaning its scarcity, know that I hadn’t lost any really and allow all the missed times in my past to be at peace. There is plenty of Time to be had, as it turns out, ‘we’ve got all the Time in the world.’ Whatever you do, don’t waste Time.
Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick
Time we wear on our wrists, pin to a wall, keep on our computers, we mark how tall we were on what year and we love that. We love those lines, on the walls and we look back and say ‘haha, that’s where I was then’ ‘that’s who I was at that Time of my life.’ They’re just lines on a wall but we can go back in Time that way. We can be early, late or just in Time. We can change Time if we remember it in the wrong or right way. Time is a mystery; it is all around us, no one can see it and yet life happens in our own Time.
If I was to make the most of this free time then ‘Stop all the clocks’, it was just Time.
I’ve spent hours in silence missing all the old Times with my friends and replayed the photo book of memories that flicked through my mind, flashing as they did last night as I resisted the urge to sign up to another dating app. I am grateful for this Time in a way that has taken me by surprise, a Time where the new ok is being internal and introverted, something that is at odds with moving to a big city. It’s like it’s suddenly acceptable to be who I really need to be sometimes. I’ve been staying in and I don’t just mean behind closed doors, I’ve been staying inside of me. It’s been perfect timing really. It may have taken 31 years and a Lockdown to find a way to live with myself, but here I am inside this house and though it may be rented, I know now the true meaning of the word ‘Home.’ The kind of place that you don’t find through uploading something meaningless to Instagram and realising the only reason you uploaded it, was in the hope that the person you currently fancy will see it and not for any other reason. Not the kind of thing to be found through travel, a new dress or a romance with someone you hardly know.
It’s just this small sensation, that’s all, that’s what I found.
Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything; maybe it is about just letting go of all the things you don’t want to be anymore.
I look back on old friends social media accounts, on old relationships, a picture book of who they have become, the person they have chosen to show, how we’ve grown, how we are not friends anymore, how you meant everything to me back then. I’d do anything to be back in Brighton right now and dancing in some indie club, with just you, to some music that seemed so cool that no ones ever heard of it. I miss you, home, home, breathe in, scream it; home.
I feel so different now, miles away from all that, years away from who I used to be and even though I miss it, I’m definitely in the right place and only Time have I to thank for that. Nothing outer could I offer to help with this, nothing inner could I probe or investigate really, it’s just Time. I have found a different kind of love for myself and at Times, in the long days, I have caught myself dancing, overt-tired from sleeping in, unwashed and completely euphoric, all by myself. There really is something about being alone and blasting music out into the world and for a moment, oblivious to it all; the pandemic, loss, unending hours and feeling a moment of true love for what reason; I don’t know. I just know that through love we get better, through love we grow and can even understand ourselves more than we ever could before. At best, love is transformative. Through our differences we are able to see ourselves more clearly and grow into this fuller version of the person we are meant to be, whoever that is, hopefully, at 31, I’m just on Time.
Things just happen in time. If you have a problem, a question, are looking for an answer; it’s just time. Time flies. Time can stand still. Time is everything.
In time, I’ll be grateful for how much I’ve changed again, for the new job I’ll have got, for the new boyfriend I’ll eventually marry, for new life lessons I didn’t even know were there to be learned, for the different kinds of love I’ll eventually find and share.
I’ll look back on this time, maybe when I’m 41, who I was during this lockdown, how much I grieved alone and realise how little I knew about life then.
Life, Time, our perception of it is all we’ve got.