This time last year…
I’d just started a new job.
I was excited. New opportunities. New place. New chapter. New people. Familiar faces. A fresh start. So much hope.
This time last year, in early February, I was planning for Valentine’s Day. A night out with a good friend who’d recently lost her husband. We’d dubbed ourselves “the widdlers” and we had a plan to enjoy a Galentine’s night with great food, strolling around downtown, standing on a roof top, taking in the city while listening to the faint strains of live music float up from the bars below. A perfect celebration for the less than perfect situations we found ourselves in.
The evening went beautifully. We toasted friendship. We reminisced. We celebrated. We hoped, and we dreamed.
The next morning, after retiring to her condo the night before to enjoy chocolate and wine, we headed out to volunteer. We spent the morning laughing and chatting with dozens of other volunteers while packing cases of food that would eventually be shipped out to communities in need.
It was a perfect weekend.
The photos are some of the last I have where I’m completely happy and at ease.
This time last year…
I was just laughing with a friend at a time when life was just a little bit easier – a little bit freer.
This time this year…
There are no plans other than enduring the sameness of the days.
Valentine’s Day will be like any other day during this pandemic – completely unremarkable – unheralded.
In the past I could always count on flowers– a card sitting on my desk next to some small plush toy declaring its fluffy devotion – a hug, and a big “I love YOU!” (that “you” was always capitalized)
This time this year I will stare out of my window – a less than exotic creature stuck in the world’s worst zoo. A place where blossoming traditions got tossed aside. A place where it’s more challenging to hope – more challenging to dream.
And the thing I miss the most – the thing I desire the most right now, in this moment – is not a nice meal (which I’d love), wine on a rooftop while listening to live music (which I’d greatly enjoy), or even a card (which I’d cherish) – it’s a hug – a real hug – the kind that envelops your whole soul. I want, more than anything else, someone to hold me.
Through all of this, it’s the number one thing I miss. The feel of another human being.