Away Awhile

Chapter Two
Tea with Milk

6pm: Dad goes to neighbour’s.

Dad visited Uncle Brian at six o’clock. I know this because I am marking down events meticulously. People have been telling me that we are living through history and that it hasn’t been like this since the Second World War. Because we learnt about that at school, I know how important record-keeping can be so people in the future understand what it’s like to live through a Global Emergency.

When Uncle Brian opened the door, Dad stood a few metres away. Sometimes you don’t know you have the virus until you’ve already spread it to others, so we can’t do polite things anymore like hug, shake hands or actually greet someone at the door. Old folk like Uncle Brian are too old-fashioned to be cautious like this though. He invited dad in for tea and dad had to just smile and say maybe another time. Uncle Brian is a real sport. We share a front lawn and he always mows both sides. He’d probably mow the back too if there wasn’t a fence. He also rolls our bins in after the rubbish and recycling have been collected.

Dad asked him how he’s managing. “See now, it’s all a bit worrisome, what with staying in an all,” Uncle Brian replied. “I’m going to need to get some groceries soon. We’ve got stuff in the pantry mind, but the main problem is there’s no milk left for me tea.”

“Well I’ll just nip over and get you one of our bottles for now,” said Dad, “and you mustn’t worry a bit about shopping we can do that for you. Just write a list of what you need. You can pop it through our mailbox or I can pick it up when I’m going.”

“That’s good of you Mr Sibawayh,” said Uncle Brian, “honestly I tried this whole online shopping thing like they said on Channel 4 but I couldn’t make head or tail of it. It’s not just me either. I’ve been on the telephone with my fogeys up the road – we’ve all lived here decades you know – and they can’t tell what’s what either.”

“Hmm,” said Dad, “that’s a good point. I’m not sure I could manage shopping for the whole street … but maybe we can sort something out Neighbourhood Watch style. I’ll speak to my wife about it. Right now though, let me get you that milk.”

6.15pm: Dad drops off milk.


Continuing the story of the semi-fictional journal entries of a child, based on what is happening. Taking inspiration from real life scenarios; a little of the sad and grave aspects, a lot of the uplifting, rallying together aspects. Chapters are about all the community work that is really happening, looking after neighbours and the elderly, ways children can and are preoccupying themselves, and inward reflection.
Good for kids to read, being written in a child’s voice. Short chapters with original illustrations.
(NB: this chapter is set before the lockdown.)