I miss you. I think of you, often. It would be good to see you again. We could catch up with ‘this and that.’ You could tell me the ‘who, what, where, when, and even the why’ of your life. And you might also speak of the dead, the dying, the ill, the hurt, the malcontent, and the impoverished. Then again, you may speak of the fortunate, the enlightened, the survivors, those who endure, and those who succeed at making of our collective circumstances a smorgasbord of constant choice. Our communication may well do all that much, and even more. We could ‘conspire’ (as sung ‘by the fire,’ in the old-fashioned way). Yes, we could indeed breathe together, masked, or not. Or at least, write?
Shall I tell you of the many sad deaths, recent and old, imbuing me, haunting, plucking at my consciousness, giving grief its constant refrain? There be so very many that one loves, on and on, despite their having so sorely departed. So too for you? And condolences we can share, since the inevitability of losing others in our lives, especially the closely known, and dearly loved, is life’s conundrum, sans surcease. We are richer for loving. We are hurt and heartsore and bereft by their going, but love is rich.
Shall I tell you of the dragons of fire that attend sickness and pain and ill health and inability? We each have had the problems of surmounting the vicissitudes of fate. We can attain much of health over very many months, and then some slight mishap, some fall, some trip, some wrench and pull and tug and upending, can, with brutal immediacy, yank the proverbial rug. And often the instinct is to let others know, for then might come the well-wishes and prayers and support. But often, too, one is aware that the passage from downstairs to upstairs is a necessary foot by foot progress, alone; it essentially needs to be accomplished, alone, so that one may again indeed be well. Alone. One’s nurses, one’s partners, one’s friends can all help, but to do so they need be close at hand. And self-reliance is our chief aim, physically.
Covid precludes the presence of most. It cauterizes the flow of friendships. We cannot gather, visit, share afternoons of tea and scones, share evenings of supper and wine. We may phone, but then again, not all of us can easily chat over the ether. Then too, many, like me, do not favor virtual contact. It appears stiff. It feels at a disconnect. It suits me not. And the chit-chat can leave me unsettled, rather than connected. For me, it is the physical presence that exudes from the other that conspires to engender an ongoing sense of connection. And since few that I know make much of frequent phoning, or even writing, my own world shrinks to the island of my being. Contact with the remaining roster of my immediate company, the family connections, and the handful of constant correspondents, continues. But my ‘bubble’ shrinks.
Generic contact does something to say, ‘I’m thinking of you.’ It avoids (historical) particularities. In the old days (before the internet,) a letter between countries might take months to be answered. To ask after a cold last April, in July; or to congratulate for a February baby, by June’s end; or graver, to have the glory of last summer given credence, just before Christmas; is hardly to conspire. We used to be so very out of touch. And now? Even now, a dear one’s death is given but a few sentences. Our bubbles tear, and tear.
Beyond touch, (or even with it,) the bubbles of our existence remain, by inference, so very fragile. How easily we can lose one another. How fearful we are that our bubble may burst. How cloistered and clustered and caved we are, each in our world, no thanks to Covid.
Faced with the trebuchets of outrageous fortune, we are bombarded with disparate realities. There is too much of fear. Out of the proverbial blue, death, and illness, and struggles with the pestilence, envelops us. There is universal loss and grief. We do clam up. We do withdraw. We do eschew physical contact, do not travel, and eventually, do stop up much of connection. Sharing becomes more and more difficult. Our introverted shells may well crack to let yet more light inside, but whose bubble might we not burst were we to compare? (To speak only of joy and wellness and wealth can hurt too.) Suffice it to say, I miss you?