Lockdown is over! Let’s get pissed in town…’, my friend Hayley will anounce to the girls over the house party app. ‘It’s been way too long’.
‘It’s been 84 years’, I will croon reminiscently, like old Rose from Titanic.
Becky will refuse to go to Wetherspoons ‘cos – Tim Martin, innit – so we will land in Duke Street.
I will turn up slightly merry because I’ve been on furlough and so the gin starts in the afternoon.
The place will be rammed with middle aged men with balding heads and they will stand behind open doors and part ways to let us through, as if lining the streets at royalty passing though. We will scratch our heads at their chivalry and wonder ‘What year is this?’ before one of them will pull us back down to earth with – ‘social distancing luv’.
We will receive a text from Liz. She will be running late.
‘Oh feck, not another bloody runner’, Bex will cry. But she will be barking up the wrong jogger.
Liz will not have left the house. Infact, she will have been, quite literaly, eating her house down during isolation, and will now be crying into her custard creams because she will require a fork lift truck to lift her out of her bed via the front window.
When we do all finally meet, we will air kiss. We will all want to hug each other, but paranoia will loom and Liz will still not have recovered from Karen posting that video of her online of her feeding the ducks when it wasn’t an ‘essential’ outing. None of us will rock the boat by mentioning the fact that Liz has no kids and we will just ponder the thought for a moment that she must have really needed the company.
We will order wine. Bottles of wine. Ruth will declare that she is sticking to soft drinks and we will all shoot suspicious sidelong glances at each oither that the only rational reason for soberness is pregnancy. We will all have heard about the predicted baby boom after lockdown, but not one of us will have a fucking clue how you could think about possibly wanting more offspring after spending 13579 days making paper rainbows and trying to find out what an adverbial phrase of time is on google clasroom. Maybe Ruth is now just an alcoholic and is in therapy.
Our ‘catch-up’ will involve us talking about how Ruth celebrated her 40th in Casa El Kitchen with her own spinning decks (2 plates). We will drink more wine and begin to get a bit of rhythm. Liz will start doing a few lunges to the music and we will all wonder if she is demonstrating her Joe Wicks exercise routine. A couple of weirdos on their 8th pint will start grinning at her across the room and then try to reel her in with imaginary fishing equipment . We will wonder when we will ever return to normal and just shake hands.
Bex will insist on taking a photo of us all for the ‘gram but when she shows it to us, we will all be mortified that we all now resemble something from an 1980’s sitcom.
Speaking of ‘The Young Ones’, I will decide that we should all head to Imperial for old times sake, despite having never set foot in Imperial bar in my life because I am not….18.
We will dance in Imperial amongst tiny waisted girls because …life’s too short, innit. Unlike our skirts.
I will drink my 5th glass of wine and this one will tip me over the edge slightly. I will shimmer my way onto the dancefloor, unable to escape the rhythm, and move through the crowd of boys at Jungle Jims. The alcohol will take care of my dance moves. I will notice a couple of teenage boys grinning with admiration at my shapes on the dancefloor. They will whisper something to each other and then appear to make their mind up about something before they start filming me.
I will suddenly become aware that I am the object of their amusement and I will begin to get teary. Ruth will make a few appearances and suggest that I have had too much to drink and that it is time to go home. I will snarl at Ruth’s boringness and then begin emptying the contents of my sloppy head onto Bex. I will become emotional about my Great Granny Iris because I missed her so much during quarantine.
The night in question will eventually came to an end because Hayley will insist that we are all definitely going home, and she will throw me into the nearest cab. I will smile dreamily, resting my dizzy head on the window, my head full of memories of my amazing dancing, my new beautiful friends , our hugs and spilled drinks, and then suddenly, my mind will be a blank
The next morning, I will feel like a mortified, anxious wreck and I will wonder how the fuck I navigated my way into my own bed. I will be at least thankful that a hangover McDonalds is now available.
The key, I will figure, is to act as if everything is as it should be,
‘Hi, how do you feel?’ Hayley will ask when I answer the phone.
‘Great’, I will lie, worrying at my fingernails.
‘Great?’, she will sound surprised.
I will be left feeling certain that I’d been a merry but fun person the night before, but now her tone will be planting a seed of doubt in my mind.
‘You were hammered last night’, she will tell me.
‘I know’, I will agree.
‘Do you remember crying at the end of the night about your Great Granny Iris…?’, she will ask.
‘Oh, yes.’, I will lie breezily. I will want to fly off to another country very, very far away.
‘And you kept telling everyone that she’s been in quarantine?’
‘Erm. Oh, no…’, I will shake my head.
‘Has she been in quarantine, Mel?’ she will ask, doubtfully.
Erm, no. Gosh. No, she hadn’t. She’d been in heaven. Since about 1988.
‘…and you wouldn’t leave at the end of the night…’
‘…you went missing own for about an hour and we all looked everywhere for you. We found you on the dance-floor. On your own. Jumping around like an ostrich that had been shot. I think there is a video of you on …..
OH, MAKE IT STOP.
‘And you saw your boss in the taxi rank and you nearly fell asleep on her. And you told her you were going to furlough her…. ‘
OH. NO. DEAR GOD, NO….
‘I’m sorry, I really am. I’m not safe to be let out’, I will apologise profusely. ‘It had just been a while, you know…. I don’t feel a bit well. I will stay in tonight. Chill out. Take an aspirin. Get a bath. Put a facemask on.’
‘There’s no need for that extremity, Mel. The lockdown is over’.
Well, it may well be. Soon, But my prediction is that maybe when it is, for my own wellbeing, I perhaps should just #Staysafe and #Stayhome’.