For those who have been vaccinated, it’s been deemed safe by the CDC to go maskless. The problem? For those of us who have been diligent about wearing a mask, we now feel naked without it. We also have a little fear tickling the back of our mind that whispers, What if you can still get Covid? So I wear my mask anyway. I wear it when I walk into a restaurant, but remove it when I sit down. I wear it at work if someone is in my cube or if I’m walking around, but remove it when I’m sitting down alone. I wear it in the grocery store, but remove it when I leave. I also no longer wear it when I’m walking outside.
I went to one of my favorite restaurants tonight for the first time since Covid hit. It was crowded. Some people were wearing masks, some weren’t. This restaurant was my go-to place after Bryan died and I moved into an apartment while I figured out what I was going to do with my life. I could literally walk to this place from my apartment. I chatted with my waitress and found out that the host who had been there before had gone to a different restaurant. I’d actually gone to the restaurant where he now works the other night and thought I had recognized him. I couldn’t place his face until I was walking inside the doors tonight of his old job. The bartender’s sister had died and she was in another state, handling things. I texted her my condolences. I recognized two people from before the pandemic, but I never spoke with them like I spoke with the bartender and host. Back before Covid. It was different, yet the same. It felt so nice to be back in my spot. I had a lot of nights here chatting with other diners, chatting with the employees, or just sitting and thinking in my own space. I love to talk with strangers, to learn their stories. I love to people-watch. I also worked through a lot of my grief at this place. The people there don’t even realize how much they helped me through my journey as a new widow.
My world is starting to return to normal and I feel as if I’m picking up where I left off back in March of 2020. My life is the same, but different. I’m still a widow, but I’m a little stronger now. People who were close to me have faded away. People who I haven’t been close to in years have become part of my tribe. I’ve met new people who have no idea who Bryan was to me.
I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with this new almost post-Covid life. My promise to Bryan was that I would continue to live life to the fullest, just as he did. But I’m scared, too. It’s a new world out there and I’m trying to figure out where I fit in it. I guess we all are.