Today I went for a run. I ran alone, two metres away from other people.
I passed Brockley market, where dozens lined up at a safe distance to support local businesses in an uneasy and uncertain time. I looked across the car park, and I was sat with my friend at one of the tables that no longer exists, eating a filthy breakfast bap from Mother Flipper the morning after an evening at a sold out gig.
Power by Little Mix filled my ears as I ran past and up the road, and suddenly I was dancing around my living room at one of my flat parties, friends slut dropping and singing off key, rapping Stormzy’s part to varying degrees of success.
I passed closed pubs I’ve visited with friends, eating lazy Sunday roasts washed down with red wine and laughter.
I listened to Dizzee singing Dance With Me, and imagined I was in a field in Somerset, dancing and singing with my friend at Glastonbury, my favourite place in the world, a place filled with tens of thousands of happy people.
Festival by Sigur Ros came on and my short jog became the the last kilometre of my hard earned half marathon, crowds of strangers cheering the masses on, a group of my friends screaming my name in the final stretch on a beautiful October day.
I ran up through Hilly Fields and looked across London, the sun bouncing off the skyscrapers of the City like any other early spring day on any other year. I looked out toward Canary Wharf where I spent years gazing out at the skyline being lit by fire and watercolours as the sun set over my city.
The familiar happy beat of Dog Days Are Over reminded me of summer, hopping on the tube with a G&T tinnie on my way to spend the afternoon with a dozen friends in St James’s Park. The day would crawl into night until the sun setting would cue the start of our debate of whether to continue in a nearby pub, or perform a mass exodus to one of our flats for dancing and inane chats that would last until the early hours.
I passed the bench where I sat at 2am on my 30th birthday with one of my oldest friends, reminiscing and wondering what was coming in my fourth decade. I ran past the spot where we greeted in the new year just a few months ago, champagne in hand, filled with hope and wonder at where 2020 would take us. It didn’t cross our minds it would bring us here.
Today I went for a run, and I saw all my friends.