Although my husband and I were considered fully immunized more than a month ago—two weeks after our second Moderna dose—this morning really seemed the end of quarantine for us, as our youngest son (now fully immunized himself) got behind the wheel, with my husband as his road trip companion, to drive back to his college, his work in a lab, and his friends there, 1,246 long miles away. As you know, he had been here with us (and, until this January, also with his next older brother) since March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic shutdown here in the U.S. Every day, all day long, all four of us lived our whole, condensed lives just steps away from each other, closing the bedroom doors between us only when we needed to be on our work and school calls or to sleep. We were witnesses to and participants in the entire arc of our days, weeks, months, of an uncertain and world-changing year, a year of disease and losses and findings and healing. Other than for other people’s suffering, I kind of never wanted it to end, because of the unexpected gift it was for us.
But I waved and blew kisses this morning until my man and our son turned out of view at the end of our street. I ugly cried for a long time. I sat in prayer and meditation on my buckwheat-filled cushion, looking out of a second-floor window onto the spring leaves of our neighbor’s massive oak tree, a tree whose limbs spend much of their energy reaching toward our house. I was thoughtful and mindful, observing with curiosity and compassion the narrow but intense range of emotions wrenching my gut and the salt water drying in my eyelashes. And then for breakfast I ate a bowlful of chocolate peanut butter ice cream drowned in milk.