Lockdown Lights: A reflection…

Siubhán Macauley – A reflection…

Lifting, carrying, hoisting, heaving, we were mid-move when Boris Johnson announced the UK-wide lockdown on account of the coronavirus. Settlers, we made new turf our own, and filled our áít shona nua with colour, kindness, curries.

There is no one good word for my community. It hasn’t filled the corners of the city. It doesn’t contain heroes, or monsters. Maybe some ghosts. Just two of us alike and different, together and apart, feeling for the fluid and changing needs and expectations of the other. I have never felt the need to define so firmly what we are, and just being there, in tandem, in two, almost always feels enough. I cast around for different words, “buachaill”, “partner”, “boyfriend”, “best friend”, “love”, “taisce”, but each of them are clunky and clumsy in and out of my mouth. A name is enough, but far from me to give it.

He has been my small and content world for the length of this virus. One eye on the bitter and the sweet that came before this, and one eye staring directly into the face of the new.

I have sat despondent, creativity gone, nothing but blankness and tools out of reach. He has asked me for thoughts, for opinions, for feelings and fondness. I have created again. He has accompanied me endlessly throughout the city, four soles meeting the historic dock over and over until they are firm fast friends.

The pull of home is strong in our community. A turn of phrase, a fluent ability to keep pace in a place where I repeat my name over and over. A knowledge of the bend and twist to fit into a different space, a slowing of speech, a recognition of the pain and guilt of leaving and the excitement of return.  A sense of what it means to have somewhere to put this occasional disillusion, and longing for mo thinteán féín, the tidal force of the diaspora.

  • áít shona nua – happy new place
  • buachaill- boy
  • taisce – treasure, something like an endearing name
  • mo thinteán féín – my own hearth

Lockdown Lights is an open source project, collecting community stories about people’s experience of the lockdown during the 2020 Coronavirus restrictions. The project was funded by the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme Covid-19 relief fund. We would like to thank all the participants and the Irish Government for their support.