The First Hug

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The First Hug

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The pandemic was a time of separation for all of us. The two weeks of isolation to lessen the curve turned into months of remaining at home, at least six feet away from friends and loved ones. As an intensely social creature, this was a time of anxiety and loneliness, despite being quarantined with my husband and three children.

The person I missed seeing most was my best friend, Allison. We spoke on the phone daily, and attempted FaceTime (though it felt awkward to both of us). Prior to Covid, we saw each other at least once a day, working closely together to serve our church and meeting at the playground after school with our children.

In April of 2020, we planned a coffee date with our daughters as a way to see each other and get out of the house. We went through the drive-thru line of a coffeeshop, and drove to adjacent parking lot. We parked opposite of each other, climbed into the backs of our SUVs, and had the first "coffee date" in over a month. Seeing my best friend's face, in person, brought me to tears - as did the distance between us. I needed a hug, desperately. As I drove away that day, I wondered when I would ever get to hug someone outside of my immediate household, when I would shake hands with someone, when I could high five my daughters' friends.

In June of 2020, our church cautiously reopened for in-person services. Masks were enforced, and the six-foot rule was heavily encouraged. However, when I was finally in the same room with my best friend, I couldn't maintain the six foot rule. With my mask on and my hands carefully sanitized, I gave her a hug. It was one of the best hugs of my life.

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This item was submitted on May 25, 2022 by Jennifer Schaper using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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