‘Since March, we have spoken every day’: how a call to California got me through lockdown

I have no connection to the town where I live. Instead my friends have become the place I call home

It is morning in Los Angeles, and my friend Tess is making breakfast. I watch her pad about the kitchen in her pyjamas, fixing coffee and oatmeal, and all the while we are talking – about politics, and soup recipes, and Guns N’ Roses, about the peculiarities of pandemic life. In England, the day is fading. Beyond my computer screen, my window looks out to a pinkening sky, and the last bright flashes of parakeet and magpie.

We are eight hours and five and a half thousand miles apart, but throughout the strangeness of the past year, Tess has been my steady companion. Since March, we have spoken every day. Sometimes twice. Sometimes for an hour or more. The pandemic has brought a fervency to some of my friendships: I don’t think I have spent so many hours taking telephone calls of ambling nothingness since my teens. This is not the same as those early pandemic Zoom gatherings, many faces spread across a screen, but an increasingly concentrated attachment between two people.

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