Today is Sunday, and marks seven weeks since we made the tough decision to get my husband on a flight to the UK before the Italian lockdown was put into place. It was a strange morning. Neither of us really wanted to accept the fact that it was the right decision, there was no time for a “proper” goodbye, just a hurried booking of a flight in four hours time, a rushed farewell in the foyer and there I was, alone in the apartment. Well no, not quite alone, I do have two very confused and grumpy cats here with me.
At the time we thought, it’s okay, it’ll be a few weeks, we’ve done this before. In fact we’re quite used to the weeks apart. Between my job and his there is a lot of travel, a lot of single lady or bachelor meals and hurried whatsapp calls between events or airport transfers. We thought we were ready.
And so now the new routine has settled.
The last time we were apart for this long was when Mr L was in South America. Fresh into our relationship he followed his dream and left for the other side of the world for nine months. Way back then in the dark ages there was barely Skype, certainly no Zoom and I don’t think either of us had mobile phones (a smart phone, what was that?) and so we communicated through emails and rare snatches of time in online chats when our timezones aligned. I remember getting on the plane for my one visit and my flatmate at the time was horrified. What will you do if he doesn’t show, you have no way to contact him. I know, I said, scary isn’t it! Totally undaunted by it all somehow (where is that person now?).
Now there is a weekly Skype pizza night where we make and eat it together in our different kitchens, a bi-weekly aperitivo with our parents, monthly Hangouts with our friends and a constant flow of Whatsapp messages. It’s so easy to be in touch…and yet. And yet it feels so much harder. This year marks our 14th year together and 6th year married. So many people have been posting online about their struggle to be stuck in quarantine with their spouse, and I am sure the issues are real, but I would give anything to be sitting here together bitching about who’s turn it is to empty the litter tray (it’s mine by the way, it’s always mine that was the deal).
Seven weeks and counting. I know it’s making us stronger, it’s a story we and so many others will tell, it’s a time that will go down in global history and we will say “we were there, we lived through that”. We’ve got this. All of us.