Week 1, Day 3: Berries and Ping-Pong.

10.00 am. Cycling under a bright sky. And actual sun. I didn’t make it outside for the last two days despite exercise being government sanctioned now. The pleasure of moving through warm air is heightened by the excitement that I’ll be seeing my sister (aka The Artist). Cross-household visits are now a no-go so we are meeting outdoors: not being in each other’s presence for months seems unthinkable.

The park: A father leads 5 smiling children through an exercise routine, like an Asian Von Trapp family. An old couple are on a bench and, when a policeman cycles by, say “We’re just having a little break”, afraid of being scolded. He says “It’s okay, enjoy yourselves, have a nice day”. I think of Paolo our friend in Rome, stopped and questioned by an armed policeman on the street as he holds a conversation with friends up on a balcony. Are we naive in thinking “No, won’t be like that here”?

The Artist arrives with a red tub of coconut yoghurt, oats and rasberrries which she hands to me with gloved hands. It is delicious. There is a flask of coffee too. She is a willful bringer of joy into bleakness. Always has been. We are each other’s lifeline.

Play for today: ML and I gently toss ping pong balls at each other’s stomachs for the delight of the slapping sound. Business as usual for us two.

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