Needing solitude in lockdown but wanting her partner’s presence, our writer came up with the idea of taking opposite walking routes

On my 13th birthday, my sister gave me a pale pink card with a cat playing a harp. There was a halo above its head and the words “My sister, the angel.” I smiled and opened the card to read the message inside: “Always harping on about something”.

I laughed because it was true: I was a talkative child. In fact, later that day, a different sister gave me the very same card. Two decades on, I’m still a talker. I thrive on sparring, debating, gossiping and teasing. I solve problems by talking them through, be it the convoluted plot of a movie or a thorny personal issue. This works perfectly well when I have people to talk to. Under lockdown, however, I’ve only had my partner, Peter.

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