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“Some of us felt you leave”

A powerful Twitter thread by writer and academic Alice Tarbuck:

I have been schooling my tongue, but I would just like to say: for those of us living alone, COVID feels like a sudden ‘stop’ in a game of musical chairs. There are those who found a seat, already found spouses, had children, acquired pets. There are those of us who didn’t.

And of course, everybody’s situation is hard. But all the people whose shutters came down, who were able to retreat into their households and didn’t need to reach out for social/emotional support and so didn’t, well. Not everybody is in that position. Some of us felt you leave.

And I am delighted that people have lives they can retreat into and not be on their own! Just delighted! But I wonder if there might be consideration of what it means to break contact, to stop reaching out, when others don’t have that luxury, when others might need that contact.

Nobody chose to be lonely, and nobody is as safe in their un-loneliness as they think they are.

Kindness should never be extended as apotropaic* magic, of course, but perhaps ‘treating others as one would wish to be treated’ wards against your own future chair-stop.

Because goodness, one day you might wish it had been.

* Having the power to avert evil or bad luck. I had to look it up.