There was nothing special about today. Except everything.
Last night I met up for impromptu drinks/dinner with a friend at a local wine bar. We sat outside, of course, even though the evening after a warm day grew cool, but our server was vaccinated, my friend was vaccinated, and I was vaccinated.
While we talked about Covid, what else these days, it didn’t dominate the conversation. I almost forgot about masks as we talked and ate. After dinner, my friend came over for a bit, the first time I have had a house guest, even for a few minutes, since the Befores.
An ordinary day
Today, I had the day off, thanks to a wellness day provided by my company. After a leisurely morning with Ollie, I went next door to my favorite local café. I got a macchiato and sat outside and wrote in my journal. I’ve done this a million times in my life, but not for the last fourteen and a half months.
An hour or two later, Ollie and I took a long walk in the summer warmth. I pulled my mask down, unless I saw someone up ahead on the sidewalk. I breathed deeply, in and out.
I smelled spring, and not just when I surreptitiously snuck a whiff of a lilac when no one was around. I didn’t just feel it; I actually smelled spring.
I smiled at a stranger
Near the grounds of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a woman walked in the street, with her mask down, too. She was far enough away, so I just smiled at her. She smiled back. We exchanged “beautiful days.” There was ordinary joy, for the day was indeed beautiful.
Later, I made dinner, because I wanted to, not because it was the only choice.
I know this isn’t over, and that the variants are scary, and the longer that the world is not vaccinated, the more likely it is that we get something that will slip through the limited cover the vaccines give us.
I was the one
I was the one who did the math about a disease with a one-percent fatality rate and original estimates of seventy percent of the population getting infected.
I was the one who told my friends that this was serious and that we needed to prepare.
I was the one who explained to my mom that her pneumonia and flu shots weren’t going to cut it.
I was the first person I knew to cancel plans and stay home, telling my boss that I wasn’t going into the office until I knew that it was OK, even though I felt like I was completely overreacting.
I bought shit in cans in cases things got bad.
I even fled to my parents’ from the city (after social distancing for two weeks) for the first two months of the pandemic.
I wore my mask. I social distanced. The only times I saw friends was outside, distanced, even in the middle of winter. When things got bad, I didn’t see my family for six months, having only gone back to care for my dad when he had surgery (also after isolating for two weeks).
I spent the holidays alone, for the first time in my life. I found joy in that, but I would not have chosen it.
A dear friend could have died at the beginning of this (thank the universe that his local hospital was Mass Gen). Two weeks ago, we had beers and pizza.
A good day
And today, for the first time in fourteen and a half months, I relaxed. I smiled. I lived in the world, unafraid.
It’s not over. I know that it isn’t over.
But today was a good day.