My body shivered from a base layer of freezing sweat, clinging grimly at my perished frame as I fumbled on all-fours for my lost keys.
I still don’t know where they went or how I came to lose them, but a late-Sunday afternoon jog which I dragged my sorry carcass into had cost me way more than the usual tight hamstring.
In losing my keys somewhere along the Tettenhall Road and the back of the Molineux Stadium, I must have misplaced my pride, as I scrambled in the leaves for what amounted to an empty foil wrapper, clad in ghastly neon lycra as I went.
What the locals must have thought was anyone’s guess, but I was past caring, flicking at leaves for something I knew wasn’t there to begin with. In a 10k loop around the outskirts of town, I knew they were lost in time (and a very average time at that).
It pretty much sums me up.
A plausible-looking failure who not only gets most things wrong when he’s not trying, but still stuffing up life when he is, courtesy of a futile jog which concluded with me on my hands and knees, sobbing beneath a beanie hat at the futility of it all.
Lockdown life has a lot to answer for, but not half as much as the bloke who is failing to function in the middle of it.
But lockdown is the one constant that mirrors my own meandering existence. I run with it, drink coffee in it, lose keys in it and exist in it. Mainly just exist in it.
All the platitudes about the need to talk at times like these weigh heavy like my sodden running vest, which stiffened my sinews as I retraced my steps for those keys. I prefer not to talk too much. Better not to weigh anyone else down like the unwanted sweat on my base layer.
I can’t get lost in a book or a film as the cloak of these restrictions take me elsewhere – usually to bed where the curtains are still drawn from the night before. My mind loiters, somewhere between a bucket of memories beneath the sun’s warm glow and a bucket and spade on a beach with donkeys.
Buckets of rain, buckets of tears, got all them buckets comin’ out of my ears.
I blame myself, but not lockdown. In fact, I sometimes wonder where I’d be without lockdown. It’s a passage of time that seems to know me better than I know myself. I don’t have to make too much of an effort, I don’t have to leave the house too often and I don’t have to socialise in groups because I’m not allowed to in the first place. Thank God for lockdown.
I hope to feel better soon and when I do, I hope I can look back at this day as a beginning; the day when I stopped looking for what I could never find in the autumn leaves between parked cars. So I mustn’t forget. No I mustn’t forget.
I’m getting a new set cut tomorrow.
Great article post. Much thanks again. Much obliged. Nichol Randall Birkett
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