Dear Emily

by Eleanor Tait

Dear Emily,

We have been ‘COVID-corresponding’ (as I like to call it) from the kitchen table for longer than it took Nellie Bly to travel around the world; seventy-three days. I thought you might like to know that.

Those daffodils in your back garden are doing well; Mum’s withered away about three weeks ago! Gran would be furious, but luckily, she’s under the impression that they bloomed beautifully and have since been admired in a prize vase on the mantelpiece. Unfortunately, we just can’t show her, because the computer always needs charging in the kitchen when we do a video call (very inconvenient, I know…).

I found myself counting cups of tea a few minutes ago; I’ve had two and a half, so far, and predict at least two and a half more. How many for you today? I’m guessing only two as yet, because I saw you through the kitchen window boiling the kettle about an hour ago. I waved, but you didn’t see me. I must ask – did I spy chocolate bourbons going into your biscuit tin? We completely ran out last week and have been left only with rich tea biscuits; I cannot express my envy!

And, in response to your letter yesterday, well (we’re absolutely not discussing the capris pants!), this house has been anything but ‘quiet’ or ‘peaceful’. In fact, I believe my dear brother has never experienced the phenomenon of silence. Indeed, in this maddening moment, he is exploring the works of Elton John. Perhaps you also have ‘Rocketman’ ringing in your ears – it seems to have become the soundtrack to my life.

Don’t you think it’s funny though, how so much hasn’t changed? Or rather, that we’re discovering things that were always there, the home-disco, for example. Your Dad certainly has – he was quite the Fred Astaire last night!

What I really mean though, is do you ever stand waiting for the kettle to boil and think to yourself how frivolous and ridiculous this little matter of a teabag is? When chaos is lying outside the front door, standing waiting for the kettle to boil feels deplorably extravagant.

But it isn’t. I think these little matters do matter. These ‘little matters’ are the fabric of life, aren’t they? Really, they’re the big matters, I suppose. I’ve put hand cream on four times already today, because I’ve washed my hands about six times so I don’t catch or spread it. That’s a little big thing.

Look at me getting all philosophical! Oh, I can see you in the kitchen now – are you making a sandwich? Really, Emily, it’s only twenty past eleven (you must pretend I’m tutting and shaking my head – oh, too late, you’ve already seen me!).

Why are you pointing at your pants? What are you saying?

Oh. The capris pants. Yes, well, they shrunk in the wash. It can really be the only explanation for the zip incident of yesterday.

Your dearest friend (if you stop laughing at me…),




Eleanor is studying English Literature for A-level and is an avid reader. This year’s lockdown has been the perfect opportunity for her to spend long sunny hours in the garden with her favourite books, including classics outside her course. In the future she hopes to study English Literature and History at university, in order to pursue her passion for literature and its influences, past and present.