Pandemic Diary: A gathering


So I cracked the other day and I reached out to my friend of last resort. Do you have one, two? IT’s not quite what you think it is. For me, this is the rather surprising, unexpected person to whom I didn’t feel particularly close or connected to… but who life has shown me I can count on when the shit hits the fan. We need these people. We don’t necessarily love them, nor they us. We don’t see each other that often—if we see each other too often, we start to bore each other. But then…

Jane: Things are bad. I need help.

Him: I’m here for you.

And actually—that was enough. Often, that’s enough. A deep breath. A realization there’s still a safety net, someone to lean on if I must. And, a gathering—January is almost over. This cold snap is gonna be pretty short. I’m writing. I’m loved. You’ve got my back—I’m not gonna lean on you because you’re exhausted and brittle too, but I know you’re there. Surely, not much longer now…

Him: Friend of last resort? Really?

Jane: And what would you call me?

Him: Fair…

So now I think I might be able to call you—well. Take a breath but don’t hold it. Wait until March. The gathering is a process. January’s not quite over yet, and then, we still have to get through February. Brrr. March. We’ll talk in March. Perhaps in March, you’ll feel comfortable enough to leave your house and you know… hug me. Vaccine or no vaccine.

But if not—if you eed to wait until September, until 2022… I’ll be here for you.

At least… I’m pretty sure?


I’m a little worried about this, to be honest, but my worry is also proof that I’m shaking off the January blues. I’m thinking about the future, and that’s a big deal. Will I love you in March? In 2022?

It’s been a long, long time…

Him: A long time goes by between each of our encounters.

Jane: Yeah, but I don’t really love you.

Him: Remind me—why is it that I’m here for you when you need me, again, always?

Jane: I don’t know. You just are.

The pandemic has shrunk our social circles. Interrupted our connections. Will they resume when things get back to normal?

Some will. Some won’t.

I do think some people’s ability to connect socially, intimately with others will have been damaged, severely, and will take a long time to come back.

And some of us will be very, very empty… and not able to do the work we usually do in blowing on, reigniting the embers of friendship.

Him: It’s really not that hard. Look at me. Look at us.

Jane: Promise?

Him: I’m here for you. I was here in January 2019. I was here in August. I’ll be here for you in March. Or September. Or 2022.

Jane: Maybe I do love you. A little.

I do love you, a lot, but it’s been hard to feel and to give that love recently. Do you feel that lack? Experience the same impairment? I think so, I think you must.

But I also think… it is almost over.

I feel a gathering.

Jane: I’m here for you.

You: I know. You were there for me even when you thought you weren’t.

Jane: How’s that a thing?

I don’t know. But it is. January is almost over. February is a short month. Some stupid trees are in bud already.

A gathering.

Him: Um… and is anybody here for me?

Jane: I’m here. Always.




PS Do you selfie when you’re moody? I pretty much never selfie when I’m fully happy and satisfied. I think it’s a way of making sure I still exist…