Almost Risked It All For a Hug: Intimacy in a Pandemic
Picked up the phone for the twelfth time in eleven minutes and reminded myself of the risk. I knew sending my version of “hey big head” would get a response and then seamlessly transition to a “you pulling up or nah?” But I also knew that as soon as it was over, I’d be in the same space trying to fill the same void that Chanel packages couldn’t fill a week ago. At least the makeup would last longer. And a new blush doesn’t mean freaking out for the next 14 days wondering if being careful wasn’t careful enough.
In the beginning I told myself I’d be fine. I would have been if the pandemic had only lasted as long as we thought it would. Hoped it would. And even for this introvert, who can count the number of guests who have ever been in my home on one hand, this is hard.
No gym. I can fix that. Save money not eating out anyway. Miss the routine of a commute but not the 1.5 hour trip each way. I can handle that. Best friend moved just across the way and I still haven’t seen her in a year. Can’t handle that. Don’t even consider myself a hugger but God what I would give for one now.
More than a “hey stranger,” I miss my children. Grandbabies growing so fast. Grateful for technology but not the part where they probably think Bibi lives in the phone. The faces of Oldest Son and Youngest Son between long stretched barbershop visits. Seeing them tower over me and remembering I prayed on their height. Hearing my grandbabies laugh in person. The Daughter close enough to steal my makeup. Five-hour brunches on U street with my soulmates. Bottomless mimosas consumed religiously with women who are my salvation. Cupcakes in Georgetown. Had three tattoos and two international trips planned. Empty spaces left on my body and spirit. Friends who live far away but pop in because DC is a hub and the trip is on the company dime.
Instead we are here. Separately. Silently. Suffering. Every one of us trying not to burden the other with just how heavy this is. How. When. If. Yes. We will come out of this. But the in between. This is hard.