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I Went For A Walk Tomorrow

Author: Ian Neville
Year: Future

I went for a walk today.

It's become a daily habit. Never had time for it before the lockdown – well, not every day. But now it's one of these things – the need to get exercise. Stay home, stay safe – oh and you can get exercise once a day. Though now it's twice a day or more. So it's like a treat, you mustn't miss it.

Go as far or as little as you want. You know you can do it, you remember how to walk. Of course I do. I do it sometimes when I'm not even thinking about it.

Anyway, I went for a walk today. I was determined not to miss it. After all it was my last chance before the re-opening of the golf course, to...GOLFERS! How dare they! They'll ruin it! Hurling these dangerous missiles at little holes with flags. Stop it!

It's peaceful on the golf course and it feels quite naughty – trespassing! Though they said we could roam while it's closed. Roam! Where shall we roam today? We obviously can't go to Rome today, but, hey, we can roam!

The impression we were given about this exercise thing was that you're not meant to stop. Don't go closer than two metres to anyone. Stay alert, stay safe, save our NHS. Social distancing! Social dancing out of each other's way as we wander and roam...

I went for a walk today. I walked onto the golf course as if I owned the place. I do my walking here. I am a habitual walker and I like the space.

I get a bit twitchy when I see another soul or two – how dare they! Don't they know this is for me, this place. Nevertheless I walk uphill, and down valley, gently on the fairways and greens. Ever watchful for the lad on the tractor cutting back the grass in preparation for tomorrow.

Oh tomorrow, what will you be like? Tomorrow – tomorrow will be ducking flying golf balls if you're anywhere near this place. Tomorrow it begins: the ducking, the diving, the slow return, the possible retreat...

They say it will be different – maybe forever. We keep being told about the air particles when someone speaks, sneezes or coughs – they could propel the virus in your direction. And there could be more in the future. If only we could see you, with x-ray eyes, we'd faint to the left or skip to the right or stop you in your tracks with our newly minted invisible force field.

Will we ever be allowed to get close to each other again? Or has the virus brought us closer in other ways?

I'm sitting down on a grassy bank today. My golf course silent all around. I'm lying back watching the sky – owning the moment. Owning the dream clouds, drifting into the future.

I love the future. The unpredictable, virus free, clearer sky future. That's the thing: the global warming, the pollution, the congestion, the noise. For a moment it stopped and we breathed fresher air, saw brighter skies, more vivid colours. You and I spending more time together than ever.

This all came as a surprise, with swings and roundabouts and ups and downs and terrible sadness in so many hearts.

But there have been moments – in virtual lands of flickering screens; our doorstep clapping; our feet pounding pavements and open spaces; catching strangers' smiles saying we share something. We are not so different whether rich or poor, whether grand or small.

We are the lone walkers and dreamers, and the future will come to us no matter what. And having learnt to live a simpler life, we are ready.

So to the future, let's drink to it all.