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June 23, 2021

Returning

Something that is surprising me about my feelings about the world reopening again after a very long and difficult time is that I AM SO READY FOR IT. Like ridiculously ready. There is no trepidation, or anxiety, or complicated feelings (though of course there are. But far fewer than you’d think). None of it is complicated in the slightest: I want to do all the things. Bring on the Roaring Twenties, Motherfuckers! Basically, if I’m not dead in Jay Gatsby’s pool by the end of August, what have I even done with my summer?

I have erred on the side of caution over the last year and a half. We did visit the museum and art gallery when permitted, and my children returned to school in person in September, but we haven’t socialized with other families since last summer when we’d picnic in the park. My mom came to see us at Christmas, but we sat apart with the windows wide open (and you can imagine how pleasant that was in the depths of winter). I’ve not been inside anybody else’s home, or eaten in a restaurant. We at dinner on a patio once in October, but only because we couldn’t find anywhere to get takeout from, and it definitely wouldn’t have been our first choice…

But now we’ve thrown all caution to the wind. (WITHIN REASON! I am still only gathering outdoors for the summer, keeping distance, wearing masks when I can’t. Tomorrow I receive my second vaccination shot.) I WANT TO DO ALL THE THINGS. Last Friday, Stuart and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary with a dinner on a patio. It felt like a dream. Sharing space with other people! Drinking beer out of a proper glass! Choosing to order dessert! I sat down and thought, “Delta variant!” but then put that bad thought out of my head, because I am finished with this pandemic. You know that thing that people kept saying all winter, something like, “The pandemic is not over just because you’re over it.” But you know what? It is. I am. BYE BYE BYE.

On Sunday evening, a dream came true. After a year and a half of (mostly) patient waiting, our family returned to our sacred swimming ground, the Alex Duff Pool at Christie Pits Park. Which seems much closer to our house than it did before everyone in our family became a cyclist, but now it’s just the most pleasant, swiftest journey away, up Brunswick and across on Barton. I didn’t dare to really hope that it would happen—the possibility of thunder clouds, or a pool fouling. I’ve learned over the past year and more not to think too far into the future, just to take things as they come instead, but it came. Six o clock, and we were let into the pool area (45 swim sessions reserved online, no use of change areas, but still) and there it was, the place I’d been dreaming of since Labour Day 2019, which was the last time we’d swam there. Even better? As the other swimmers began to arrive (attendance was capped) we discovered we had friends among them, and I jumped into the deep pool without testing the water, and it was like no time had passed at all.

2 thoughts on “Returning”

  1. Theresa says:

    Oh this is wonderful. I’m so happy for you!

  2. Kristin says:

    I feel exactly the same! Bring on summer!

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