Lockdown routine (3 per day) By Jack Swanson

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  • 3 cups of coffee. That’s maximum. 2 is preferable. And none after 4pm.
  • 3 sets of press-ups (20 per set)
  • 3 sets of sit-ups (25 per set)
  • 3 sets of squats (15 per set)
  • 3 times to go outside. That is also a maximum. Once to run and once to shops. If you feel a second run is necessary, okay, but make it short and fast.
  • 3 meals. Exactly that amount. Don’t skip any and only one readymade.
  • 3 fruit (raisins do not count).
  • 3 vegetables (sweetcorn does not count).
  • 3 cigarettes AM and 3 more PM. Aim for less.
  • Max 3 beers. Pint cans acceptable. None before 5.
  • 3 times to check the coronavirus live feed.
  • MAX 3 zopiclone. 2 should be enough. Try just one first. (Reminder: contact Dr Hughes.)
  • Max 3 _________ per day. And only one whilst thinking of her (this should never be the one before bed).
  • At least three sessions of self-improvement. Learn language / update CV / listen to informative podcasts / research figures of historical importance / read books. One session should be at least 30 mins. Exercise not included.
  • Max 3 times to think of her. Writing this doesn’t count.
  • 3 times to check her social media. This also does not count towards the thinking of her total.
  • Try to speak to at least three physical people a day, at the shops or on the street.
  • But don’t call any more than three. And never call the same person more than three times in a week if they haven’t called you at least once in that time. This rule doesn’t apply to mum obviously.
  • No more than three minutes inside head at any one time. Look for distraction. PlayStation is fine but max three times in a day.
  • List 3 things that you are thankful for. None of those things can be having spent three years with her.
  • 3 times to go on Tinder and 3 times to promise I’ll delete the app.
  • No more than 3 minutes of listening to the neighbours have sex. And during none of those minutes should you think of her.
  • Max 3 interviews with imagined talk show hosts.
  • Max 3 daydreams where I save her from impending doom and max 3 where she tries to save me but is too late.
  • Max 3 times of her finding me beaten to death in an alleyway. Max three of watching the tears run down her face and listening to the blood curdling scream she lets out. 3 times to see the miserable life of regret she subsequently leads, never able to recover from having let me go.
  • 3 messages drafted to her explaining the aforementioned miserable life she is set to lead. NONE sent.
  • 3 times to be pissed off that I’m furloughed
  • 3 times to be thankful that I am
  • 3 times to curse my parents for not giving me better genes and 3 times to acknowledge that I’m not their fault
  • 3 times to hate her parents for saying she could do better and 3 times to hate myself because they’re right
  • 3 times to think this could be my catalyst for change
  • 3 times to know it won’t
  • 3 times to remember all the bad times in my life and 3 more to imagine all the worse ones to come
  • 3 times to know others have it harder
  • 3 times to really try and care
  • 3 times to think of all those dying and 3 times to make it mean something to me
  • 3 times to say fuck you to those prioritising the economy over people’s lives and three times to say we’re fucked because they’re the ones in charge
  • 3 times to think of all the enablers who’ve allowed terrible men to do terrible things to terrified women, and another three to pray I would have acted differently in their position
  • 3 times to wish that I was better
  • 3 times to wish that she was worse
  • 3 holes stabbed into the polaroids she left behind
  • 3 minutes to cry at the result
  • 3 times to think about the cancer in my family and three more to think it’s probably in my balls
  • 3 times to scream into my pillow and three times to hope that someone hears
  • 3 times to bite the skin around my knuckles and three times to feel the sweet release of blood
  • 3 times to hate my brain and body. 3 more to hate this shitty little flat. 3 to hate all the reminders of her still here and 3 to treasure them all the same. 3 to wish that life just had an off switch and 3 to know I wouldn’t have the guts to press it if it did 3 to know self-pity’s unattractive and 3 to accept that’s exactly what I am 3 to wish the crying baby upstairs would die and 3 to know that’s a terrible thought to have. 3 to realise life is meaningless and 3 to wonder why that doesn’t give me the freedom I would like. 3 to hate everyone and 3 to hate everything but most of all 3 to hate my ugly fucking self 3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

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Jack Swanson

Jack Swanson has recently returned to the UK after spending five years living and working in Vietnam. Prior to that he completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University. He has a short story, Comedown Alone, published in The Mechanics’ Institute Review: Issue 13. http://mironline.org/mir-13/

Twitter: @jackVswanson

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

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