Seeing my best friends’ faces unobstructed by a mask and not through a phone screen. Not discussing test results with them.
Waiting in an unnecessary long line to drink perfectly crappy coffee at a diner at 10am after staying up way too late the night before. We are yawning and our hair is unkempt, but waitresses are carrying plates of pancakes stacked higher than any of our problems. At least for right then.
Choosing to sit at the kid’s table at the family reunion where we are all sticking forks and hands into big tins of noodles and rice and lumpia.
The moment the lights shut off as a concert is beginning and the whole room vibrates with excitement.
Stumbling down the street after midnight– one friend always carrying another on their back for some reason– and laughing as we settle into a cozy booth in the corner of the 24 hour pizza place.
My hands wrapped over someone else’s as we grip the karaoke microphone and sing in front of strangers that cheer us on and can’t even really tell if we’re good or not.
Being happy to see a shore packed full of colorful towels and people in sunglasses.
Events at random little community centers where the chairs are pushed to the edges of the room and there’s always a potluck and cheek kisses from old people.
Deciding that I’m going to a swing dancing class and being the youngest person in the room being spun around by my grandpa.
Working up the courage to lift my arms when the rollercoaster drops.
Meeting strangers at parties and spending an evening leaned against a sticky kitchen counter talking about music or astrology or literally anything. There’s a questionable punch bowl on the table in the next room and snow melting in puddles around the shoes by the front door.
Being uncomfortably half-asleep, but then hearing: “the aircraft is now making its descent” and knowing that I’m about to land in a country I’ve never set foot in before.
Going to a coffee shop where I get a latte in a ceramic mug and find a spot at the least wobbly table just to write in my journal.
Receiving a, “look up, we’re waving!” text as I enter the live music venue and see my group of friends smiling and waving excitedly across the crowded room.
The frenzied dash around the dollar store aisles searching for junior mints (even though my friends tell me that’s old person candy) and gummy worms so we can make it to the 6:45 movie.
Getting complimented by beautiful, sweet, drunk girls in the bar bathroom as I was reapplying my lipstick.
Taste testing those little cubes of cheese or slices of apple at the farmer’s market.
Working a shift without wearing a mask.
Picking a stack of clothes from the racks at the thrift store and coming out of the dressing room with shoes barely tied on so the group can give me the very enthusiastic verdict.
Wandering slowly and intentionally around a science museum holding someone’s hand. Kids chase each other underfoot and we all take turns peering into telescopes and touching the experiments and sitting in the dark little room for a projector presentation on dinosaurs.
Screenshotting google map directions and stuffing my bag with snacks, sunscreen, and a disposable camera to begin the exploration around the new city I arrived in yesterday by train.