Life in the Time of Coronavirus #12

The Moniack Mhor Writers Group, led by Cynthia Rogerson, has been meeting remotely during the Lockdown. They have been writing pieces inspired by the situation. Today’s is by Graham Bullen.

A Second Lockdown

What if we murmurated, like swallows. Like circling the Ka’bah. But, like, every day. Just waiting for dusk, and then going for it. Jumping right in. Or up. Following Joanne, a wingbreath separating loved by and loved. Chirruping joy on the swooping, raucous air.

What would that be like? Then still back in time for Pointless. Home for drinks’o’clock.

We could have done that together, you and me. Or you and I. Which is it? Who cares.

Sparks from a fire, we could circle and rise, circle and rise. Orange to black.

Birth to. You know.

Spent an hour pondering why weeks have seven days. Nature doesn’t do sevens.

(Westerns master it.)

(Westerns do nature too. Critters. Trails.)

If you’re still with me, I should introduce myself. No one else is here to do it.

Like that water erosion on the Sphinx, I don’t get everything. Not without calendrical slippyslide, or a weakening grasp on climate trends.

Like holding hands with a swan. Just can’t happen, dude.

Sorry. Lost it there.

I’m Leo.

Mum watched A Boys Life, had me, then killed herself. She should have hung around until Titanic. She’d have loved it. Except the end. Brrrr.

For all I know, Dad knew I wasn’t going to be named after him, so he ran off to the circus. Not to join, obviously. To run a one-man picket. All over the country.

Made a travelling show of himself.

Hated trapezes. Those who jump, and catch. And never show fear.

Never see him now. Probably taken out by Cirque de Soleil. With a laser.

Granma loved her Leo, and he loved his Granma. She fought my teachers and won. Every time. Took a stand against non-hodgkins lymphoma, and lost. Just once.

Since then, nine of my every ten facts blew in on the mistral winds, courtesy of Foster Mums and free school lunches. School nights at the library. Weekends in a book.

The bell rings. I open the door, and a moth flies in.

Two of us in here now.

Bellringer not yet spotted, so exempt from the count.

Busy, busy, busy.

Meter reader? Postie with package?

Seventh Day Adventists, travelling in pairs. Like matching salt and pepper?

Good cruet, bad cruet method of doorstep persuasion?

Hello, I offer, bending sound to reach the side of the house.

Ah, hello. Wine Club.

Just put them in the woodshed. Thanks.

No worries, he says.

Him or me, I think.

Must mean himself.

Wrong about me. Leo has worries. Oh yes.


Since she left. Left me On My Own.

Before we met, I was old enough to have an Own, but rarely felt On It. Plenty to do. Stuff to learn and prove.  A life to plan then do.

Braced for how life would do itself to me.

Cocteau Twins to decipher and hum to now. Inching towards English with every release.

Hope for us all.

Other stuff too.


Several girls passed through, some even slowing to take a look. All engines left running, soon off at the first hint of love.

Seatbelts on. Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre.

Pull away.

Left (yes, that’s right, Leo) On My Own.

Not lonely, just alone.


Lonely all right.

Until Joanne. When Joanne stayed.

Lovegreedy years. Feasting with no famine.

I close the door.

Six reds, six whites join the moth. Full House. Not of bitterness.

But no longer with surprise.

© Graham Bullen, 2020

Views/opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not represent those of any individual from Moniack Mhor or Moniack Mhor itself. Copyright remains with the author.

Comments are closed.