Updated: Dec 10, 2020
I wrote this earlier in the week and debated on posting it. Haven't we had enough of COVID news? Aren't we up to our mask covered chins with bad news? And then, just as I decided to forego this story - the PA Governor announced further restrictions.
COVID clutches at our social lives like the Grinch grabbed Max's reins as they bounded over the edge of the cliff.
In the infancy of the pandemic, precisely six months ago, I turned 50.
"I don't think we should celebrate." I shunned the notion of gathering and reported the then meager statistics that scrolled across the screen.
My husband's rebuttal included different numbers, fresh air, distance, and a handful of our closest friends.
"If it rains, we cancel," my nerves sizzled under my skin.
"I already said that in the text," he reassured me.
Outdoor seating arranged like a giant duck-duck-goose game, firepit central, and individual, pre-packaged snacks greeted our guests who arrived as the glow of twilight crept over the backyard. The gift of distance granted, our voices rose with the bonfire smoke, and we spoke over each other, eager for shared laughter.
Ice clinked in thermal cups, swirling vodka into stories that would be earmarked as good enough to repeat. We huddled in blankets instead of sidling closer to each other, and the fire dwindled with the last crackles of dried pine popping onto concrete.
Like Cinderella at midnight, the reality of tomorrow's chores led the charge of departures, and fireflies hovered as our guests shuffled across freshly cut grass.
I went to bed covered in the scent of wood-smoke and the perfume of friendship.
We had dared hugs goodbye, holding our breath, lifting our chins away from each other. We had squeezed a little harder, maybe knowing that it would have to keep us for a while. It seems so long ago, six months, summer. The virus back then was a different animal, young and fresh, full of optimism and hopeful endings. Winter is approaching like a beast; glowing eyes are peering around the corner.
As we plummet down the hill, statistics on the rise, I choose to remember two things: Firstly, friendships are not canceled - we will make memories again (hopefully soon). Secondly, the Grinch couldn't steal what the people loved the most.
Love and Luck,