We’ve Come a Long Way

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A strawberry flavored cocktail; Public domain image.

We sat at an outdoor table, ordered food from a QR code, and discussed what our lives were like during the long lockdown before vaccination. My vaccination was full at the beginning of May, only two months ago. Somehow, it seems much longer than that. My young friend had spent the year overseas on a Fulbright fellowship, and she was able to get her second dose just recently. It was lovely to reconnect, and it was clear that for both of us, our sense of time is still a bit muddled — how long ago did this happen? or this?

As we told our own stories of isolation, both the struggles and the valuable aspects of what we learned, we talked about a time that is still present in our bodies and a time that still has some present impacts. But we were also aware that this new era of time is so different and in ways we welcome.

We were dining together, after all. Midway through our dinner, we decided to taste each other’s cocktails. “We went from total lockdown to sipping each other’s drinks,” she said. It’s the small, routine things that bring this home.

A bit later, I looked up and saw a friend I have not seen in person in a long time. She was walking down the street and spotted me. Immediately we gave each other a big embrace, and then we started planning a time to get coffee or lunch together. “We just run into each other now! This is a thing again!” I exclaimed. It’s the small, routine things that bring this home.

We’ve come a long way.

Renee Roederer

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