We’ve been chatting for hours now. The entire conversation is online, even though we’re both vaccinated. The reason for this is that we live thousands of miles apart. It’s been that way for a while, even before I relocated from Ohio to Texas in late 2019 (about six months before the pandemic began). Back then, we also lived thousands of miles apart — they were just different miles then.
I’ll be shocked if we ever live in the same place again. She’s averse to moving, and I have wanderlust — so you never know.
But even with those thousands of miles in between us, we are in sync — as we so eerily are.
We are trading stories of life post full COVID vaccination.
“My partner has come up with a makeshift exposure therapy program,” I tell her. Extremely safe, masked outings running errands at places where they actually have policies and enforce them. Never too long. Never anywhere terribly dicey. Just enough that I can wade into being out and about again while still being cautious and not sending my anxiety into overdrive.
She laughs. “He’s brilliant. Always has been.” A moment passes. “I think I need one of those myself. I could use an exposure therapy program myself.”
“Oh?” I say.
We’ve both been near-total-recluses for the past year, since we both work from home and live in large cities where we’re able to get most things delivered to us. “I know how Han Solo felt frozen in carbonite.”
“Well, look on the bright side,” I say, “Han Solo recovered from the whole carbonite thing. You can, too.”
“A hero to us all,” she replies. “If only I were so lucky. I think there’s something wrong with my thaw.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better,” I confess, “I’ve asked around, and most folks are going through the same thing, particularly if they’ve been stuck inside a lot. We’re all coming out of stasis feeling a little freezer burned.”