By Louise Riseley

Day one: As my younger sister and I haul the endless boxes of clothes, frozen meals, and textbooks into the boot of my car, the reality of this global pandemic begins to really hit me. The courtyard beneath the apartments is so quiet, a vast transition from the usual raucous at a university campus. Torn posters hang on hallway walls, inviting students to a party that will never happen. I hear footsteps echoing through the concrete staircase, and I know they belong to my sister, everyone else has already packed up and headed home for four weeks of isolation. I feel a sadness on her behalf, she had barely moved in and begun her first classes. I also feel a sense of guilt, I am secretly pleased to have her back home again. I cannot imagine surviving self-isolation without my sidekick.

Day two: It is only day two and my sidekick has already abandoned me for headphones and a closed bedroom door. I know I can invite myself in for a sisterly whinge anytime I want, but I gather it’s best to let her grieve her beloved apartment for the day. It is not as if I don’t have work of my own to be doing, the yellow notification on my computer tells me that my public law lecturer has posted yet another update on how much our course will be altered this semester. Whilst it is far easier to concentrate on my studies in the peace of my room, I miss picking up my friends on the way to class and running late because none of them can live without coffee (stereotypical law students I guess). I suppose I will have to rely on FaceTime and an uninterested sister as my sources of social interaction.

Day three: Not only did I study today but I also found another individual who wishes to be my friend during this early stage of self-isolation, my cat. Of course, our relationship consists of me carrying her to my room and placing her on my bed, only for her to exit my room immediately. It is a routine we have mastered, and I am beginning to think that she wishes we would all return to normal and leave her alone. But alas, I am a sucker for the chase, and I will not give up until she stays. I have already danced in and out of my sister’s bedroom multiple times today and I feel a door slam coming on. I am not entirely sure why I continue to irritate her and my pets, I have plenty to do, books to read, movies to watch and podcasts to listen to. So, after standing in the pantry for a while, mistaking boredom for hunger, I return to my desk and listen to a few online lectures. I message my sister from the next room asking her if she wants to ‘hang’… it’s a "no". This will not defeat me though; we’re just settling in for a cosy few weeks of being stuck at home and I am nothing if not determined. I predict this isolation to end with a fabulous sisterly friendship or a bedroom door decorated with an imprint of my face.


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Life in lockdown. Womankind approached its community to write about life in lockdown around the globe, notably a three-day diary of everyday life under the threat of COVID-19. Womankind is publishing these stories freely to show how the pandemic is affecting women from all over the globe - from New York, to Barcelona to Glastonbury.

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