Covid will pass, death tolls fall,
hospital beds empty, jobs restart.
Businesses will fail,
Banks will recover furloughed payments,
Jobs. Some will be lost forever.
Future Tax increases endured,
Price increases complained about,
But borne resentfully, painfully.
But what am I looking forward to?
Easy to say, like online dreamers,
Better rewards for today’s key workers,
Better welfare support,
Renewed appreciation of the world,
More Green Energy,
Serious carbon capture,
A life of Quality not Quantity.
It’s the up close and personal that really matter,
the things missed,
Anticipating, child like at Christmas,
their all too welcome return.
Things revelled in, treasured, loved, and now lost, gone but not forgotten.
Things never noticed in March, now missed like a youthful love, as May turns to June.
Gigs? still got the tickets.
Football, fixture fixated, anticipating a hyped frenetic return.
I expected to miss pubs, quizzes and beers, chatters and laughs,
and yes the mad wrong answers, haven’t got a clue jokes,
tunes on the ears’ edge, the tongue’s tip, buried in memory cul de sac of age.
All great BUT it’s the preliminaries, the greetings, hugs, embraces,
precious memories so human,
so warm, these will be gone eons longer than lockdown.
Their return, a different normality, a slight freeze from me, that hesitancy between hugger and hugged,
I’ve got lingering doubts, fears, we all have.
This warmth I fear will be a long time gone before it’s return, in even an arm to shoulder touch.
When the last lockdown lifts
and, cinemas, bars, clubs, reopen
they’ll be welcomed like lost friends, with open arms, mouth, stomach, and wallet.
I’ll pass the first night, first pint, first fight, first crisps and curry at night’s end.
It will NOT be ‘welcome back old friend’ with a salutational raised glass to ANY pub,
but a raised coffee cup, “Saluti Adriano’s Cafe”,
Gosforth High Street, in the heart of Tyneside’s Muesli belt.
Adriano’s window on the high street world,
premium window stool,
Guardian on the shelf,
Cappuccino in hand,
panna cotta on the plate,
calories and cholesterol NEVER tasted so good.
So it’s the food? Partly. The coffee? As good as any. The seats, an average bar stool.
So, what makes it the most treasured, missed and passionately chased place for my new normality?
The babble of Italian staff’s chatter,
the saucer and spoon’s singing chink,
the scream of steam in a cup,
the low sound of Italian TV,
tourist posters for Milan, Verona.
Roma and Fiorentina scarves, wall strung.
Napoli shirt, signed Maradona and framed San Siro photos,
Expresso memories , Birra, pasta, and amaretto, sunshine.
Dirt cheap rambling, stumbling, stuttering trains.
Fields, hay sheathed, trees vined, wined, and olive groved.
Check clothed tables, anti-pasta, gelaeto, and limeonchello, delights, ahhh taglatelli, Tarragon, and Tuscany,
such are memories.
Window’s world view,
Bus stopped people, change pocket fumbling
Shopped and homeward bound.
Me, their lives’ wondering, stories imagining.
People passing, dog walkers or dog walked, hounds’ leash straining.
Bus processions, shoppers clamber, fared, ticketed and seated.
Sun streamed streets,
north facing seats,
cool and coffeed.
Rain splashed windows,
puddle splashed walkers,
spray n dry,
steamed, and frosted,
welcome, “benvenuto”, “Chiao, chico”.
Yeah “Grazie “ Adrianos vistas and memories, hoping for normal service soon.