a small ode to small rituals

I’ll snooze the Lumie sunrise three times, think about what to wear and remember it doesn’t matter. A loop around the common and the next episode of my podcast. Crossing paths with bleary flatmates: “it’s nice out there today”. 

I’ve never met my colleagues but I’ll see their faces at ten past nine in the morning, just as I have for the past one hundred and eighty weekdays, and I’ll be the third person to take myself off mute.

Half past ten, time for Ken. He’ll have a nice chat with two strangers and one of the answers will probably be Kate Bush. Soon after, there’ll be a gurgle from the kitchen: coffee to get us through to lunch.  

Sainsbury’s balsamic glaze tastes like a weekday lunch of diplomatically trisected leftovers and a side salad. 

“Shall we go this way today?” followed by a shrug. 

Three o’clock. “Does anyone have any calls?”. A Spotify group session will accompany the next few hours, tempo dependent upon distance from the weekend. 

Just after four, a Whatsapp to ask if I’ll be free for our daily post-work dance workout. I’ll always be free. I’ll always put off putting my sports bra on until the last minute. I’ll always feel better afterwards.  

Before the last portion of evening TV, kettle on unspoken for a trio of tea: peppermint, ginger, chamomile.  

Six Egyptian hieroglyphs, two connecting walls, never enough missing vowels questions, and deliberately awkward parting words from Victoria. Monday.   

Dinner at half past eight because it’s Tuesday or maybe Thursday and one flatmate or the other will have just finished their evening language class. “Don’t wait for me”, they’ll always say, as if eating together isn’t the best part of the evening. We’ll always wait.

I’ll make sure to log off on time to make my Wednesday rendezvous with my elderly French pen pal. We’ll compare any scraps of news: le vaccin, le variant, le couvre-feu. She’ll show me her cat, a painting she’s done that week and the view from her window. It’s a little brighter each time.  

A Crunchie projectile lands on my desk. It must be Friday afternoon. Soon I’ll join ‘virtual beer o’clock’ and hear about my colleagues’ tiny weekend plans that’ll take place inside their respective squares on the screen. 

How reassuring to crack three eggs into a pan and know that it’s Saturday morning, and that we’ll play a board game with a glass of wine in a clean flat this evening. 

Sunday. I’ll stretch my legs for longer than the weekdays permit, perhaps with someone who doesn’t live here. My flatmate will prove some dough by the radiator outside my room and there’ll be a film on. I’ll read this week’s Guardian quiz to my grandma and she’ll tell me she’s having fish pie for dinner.

Time for a bath and another week. 

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