Your perception of time vs the actual time

It’s 6:30 on a Monday morning. During weekends we get up much earlier to be able to have very early, longer walks, so on Monday we get up at around 6:30/7 – which is the latest we can get up and do our things before mother gets up.

I turn towards my man and ask “smoke..?” and he confirms this as I was already making my way under the sheets. I can tell you that this is not an easy task when you are in so much pain from lying on an airbed for over a year now. Not only that, I’ve been feeling dizzy for a few weeks now – on and off- which means I can’t turn my head too quickly in too little time or everything around me begins to turn around.
It can take up to 15 minutes before the smoke has left our tent (or room or entire house, for that matter). This time was no exception. Our neighbor sometimes smokes every 15 minutes or so, so after we were able to lift the sheets, we quickly made our way out of our tent. Easier said than done, since we bring quite a lot of things with us that we either use or are too scared to leave inside mum’s house for the night. Whilst making my way inside, I almost always give a quick glance at my little girl’s place, the very main reason we started living in mum’s garden…
Entering my childhood bedroom upstairs which always has its window open (somehow it feels less prison-y this way), we hear the neighbor entering his garden again. The window of the other, smaller room where my brother used to live, is pretty much closed so we make our way there. After 10 minutes we stand in the doorway to smell whether the smoke has left mum’s house – or not. Often, it hasn’t, as the whole house was filled with it and thus it takes longer for it to leave. This means an instant sore nose and throat and teary eyes and there used to be a period where even my chest would hurt. This was the case in both summers when our neighbours would smoke even more often and had visitors almost every day. I always believed that it would feel like this for everyone who doesn’t smoke, but somehow it doesn’t. It’s like smoking sigarettes is more normal than not wanting the smoke inside my system. But then, people also think it’s more normal to use, abuse and kill animals for “food” our bodies don’t need, rather than live vegan….
Upon returning in my childhood bedroom, my man gets dressed to walk Fannar nearby mum’s house. I start collecting trash from the day before that’s thrown into the corner next to our desk. I then bring it downstairs to recycle it accordingly and bring the fruits we need for our breakfast back upstairs. After filling the water kettle to make many cups of teas, I make my way down again to refill the water bottles. This time I stop in the hallway to unlock the frontdoor and leave it slightly open. That way, my man has a choice to either return through the back- or frontdoor when it’s busy in the flat building that is only a few meters behind mum’s garden.
When we’re all done with our tasks in the early morning, we close the door of my bedroom and I text mum that we’re ready so that she can then choose when to get up. The summer of 2021, close after losing our girl, we would return into our tent instead and wait there until mother would walk her dogs at around 09:30 AM. This meant eating breakfast very late. It wasn’t ideal and it also meant sitting literally between the turds of mum’s dogs, who somehow allows her dogs to do their business in the paved garden rather than walking as soon as she gets up.
As I make our breakfast, I literally can’t help looking at the flat behind the garden, as it’s very present and blocking our view completely. I’ve lived here for all my life and I’ve never seen the sun set, apart from a few times when I wasn’t here. Now that we’ve been “living” (surviving) like this for 15 months and counting, it’s been feeling more and more as if I’m living in a box that has its lit on it only partially: we’re boxed in almost all the time, but we can see a bit of the sky – we know there’s freedom somewhere, but it’s definitely not here. Whenever we go for a walk I would even feel boxed in, as it’s always dark outside and with our head torches on, it feels like tunnel vision, seeing only that what is being lit.
In those last 15 months I’ve come to know a lot more about humans than I have in the past 35 years, which says a lot, since I never liked humans for no reason. The people in the flat surely represent most humans on the planet. Everyday it keeps on surprising me how humans decide to get up early but as late as possible to hurry and go to their work. They most likely do something they’re not enjoying and then return close to the evening only to stuff their faces with food our bodies don’t even need, do some chores, watch TV and then go to bed again. And all this only to afford living in a box in a busy city. Why don’t they just quit there jobs, sell everything and choose freedom and minimalism over imprisonment and “wealth”….?
I turn my head towards the tree of the neighbors who live two houses to the left of us. I look at it often, as it’s pretty much the only bit of “nature” I get to see from day to day. Time has never flown this fast and if you think after a few weeks of illness that you are aware of this, imagine “living” life like that for 15 months. I don’t think it’s imaginable for anyone who hasn’t left their doorstep for such a long time. Now that the seasons are changing from summer to autumn, the tree is once again proving that time moves by fast and doesn’t stop for anything. I can honestly say without exaggerating that the last 15 months felt like maybe 5 months. It’s staggering and scary. When your days consist of doing the same things every day with no exceptions, without seeing anyone else or leaving the house apart from a weekly nightly walk, you will come to the realisation that time is precious. I now know what 15 months are. I used to think when we would still live a reasonably average life prior to this, that the time I experienced was the actual time passing by. When we would spend time in our own old home (on wheels) that was taken away from us, time would seem to go by much slower, as we got to see and experience new things every minute of every day. But when you “live” exactly the opposite -almost constantly indoors, no nature, no challenges, following the same time schedules every single day, you will see the actual time rather than everyone’s perception of it. And I can tell you it’s passing by scarily fast.
Mother is getting up at 08:15 and today is no different. As mother chooses to get up at the same time to do the same things every day, it means we have to “live” according to this time schedule as well in order to live our lives separately – without her involved in it. People would think we live WITH mother instead of AT her. I’ve never lived elsewhere than here but once where I used to live here as a child of a mother and a sister of a younger brother, I now “live” here as someone’s partner. Someone who’s lost not only their home (on wheels), but their little girl as well. Someone who’s future is very uncertain, but who’s past has been a joke.
And a lie.

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