When Clare and I started planning our research trip to Whitstable for One Golden Summer, our cowrite, neither of us had an inkling how quickly world events would change.
In February, I started reading stories about the virus plaguing China. I found the news troubling, but I had no idea how bad it would get. Then, the news out of Italy was terrible.
By the time I got on the plane early in March, in Boston heading to London, the news was becoming more alarming, but neither the British nor American governments were offering a lot of guidance. What they did say was to wash your hands a lot and thoroughly. I’ve always been a compulsive handwasher, so I felt like I had a handle on that part.
Halfway through my time in London, the WHO declared the virus a pandemic.
The shite was getting real.
Still, though, it seemed like something that wasn’t impacting the US or UK. Of course, it was, but neither government was offering a lot of practical advice.
Then Trump declared he wasn’t going to allow travelers from Europe into the country. This caused a lot of panic, and as it turned out, he wasn’t banning American citizens from arriving in the US.
I looked into rebooking my flight for earlier, but the prices were astronomical, and there were Americans who didn’t already have a way home.
Throughout all of this, Clare and her wife tried to keep me calm. We all did our best to enjoy the time we had, which involved watching a lot of telly. Turns out, Clare’s a good cook. I didn’t know that before.
On the day of my scheduled flight home, I was exhausted from all the stress. The trip from London to Boston, one I’d done a few times before, was one of the longest days ever. It was also the first time I had to fill out a health certificate in order to get on a plane.
The flight home was weird. Only a handful of people wore masks (at the time, we were still being told not to buy masks so healthcare workers would have access). Quite a few people on the flight had a cough. The woman sitting two seats over didn’t look like she felt well.
I tried to keep my head down and continued using wet wipes to clean my hands, still the only practical advice either government was issuing.
By the time I landed at Logan Airport, I just wanted to get home to my apartment for my fourteen-day quarantine. Yet, another first.
I got home on March 17th.
On March 23rd, Britain locked down, and on the same day, the governor of Massachusetts issued a stay-at-home order. Even now, it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around everything that’s happened since.
A few days later, I became sick. At the time, tests weren’t readily available in the US, and I never got ill enough to go to the hospital. But whatever I had still hasn’t gone away completely, and comes and goes in waves.
Before February, if you told me any of this was a possibility, I would have thought you a conspiracy nut. Now, I cringe over my naivety.
Also, I have several face masks, and whenever I leave the house, I have one in my pocket and another in my bag.
We’re living in a new world, and I’m still not used to it.
One Golden Summer:
Would you trade fame for love?
Saffron Oliver is the golden girl. Golden hair. Golden skin. Golden movie career.
Only one problem: she hates it.
She flees to her sister’s seaside town – where she meets the confident & charming Kirsty McBride.
Kirsty is everything Saffron wants to be. Perhaps also, everything she wants.
But Saffron can’t have it all. So now, she has to decide: does she crave Kirsty enough to blow up her golden life?
Best-selling lesbian romance authors Clare Lydon & TB Markinson have written a sizzling lesbian love story about not being afraid and going after what you really want.