The locals have been whispering about it for weeks.
“The virus is getting worse. It’s not just about the elderly and the vulnerable anymore. They’ll put us in lockdown soon.”
Nobody truly believed it; they just watched the big red banner across the bottom of the news screen as the death rate continued to rise. None of us knew what that meant. Stay in? What, all the time? What about the dog? They can’t do that, can they?
But they did.
Stood at podiums, talking in sullen voices, government officials around the world changed laws and asked us all to come together to “control the virus”, to protect a healthcare system that would be otherwise be overwhelmed.
Do your civil duty!
At first it felt like a school snow day. There was plenty of fear, of course; idiots started buying up toilet roll without any logical base and there was talk of the army being called upon to guard supermarkets.
The Walking Dead sprang to mind. 28 Days Later.
The idea that a manageable catastrophe might make life more exciting for people trapped in desk jobs and hygge homes was tangible. At the off license and down the local pub, everyone talked a little more. Something in common for all offered renewed hope that their monthly missionary position thrust might just reignite that sex-life.
We had to believe we’d be OK behind these walls and doors.
But very quickly, that arsehole you married – and spent the last 20-years tolerating, avoiding or destroying – was home. There’d be no workplace escape for them. Not tomorrow. Not the next day. Maybe never again. The kids came barrelling into the living room with snot on their chins and shoes on and you puked everywhere when you realised teaching double-science, maths, and geography was now on you.
An altogether more terrifying blend of survival horror was here to stay and it was right there in the mirror.
The following is a broad account of what happened when the residents of a sleepy, suburban neighbourhood were forced to confront their private truths during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.