When this virus has passed, I will remember freedoms stolen like a thief in the night

I miss the way we moved: Engaging as instruments in the human symphony of life. Breath-to-breath, hand-to-hand, eye-to-eye.

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When the pandemic is over, John Fountain writes, “I will stroll slowly across golden sands for miles of beach. No city code to breach. I will speak to everyone I pass.” In the photo, a man in a protective masks walks in New Delhi, India.

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When this storm has finally passed, I will shake another brother’s hand, slap hard fives, skin to skin, embrace like the best of friends. The way we used to.

Before the arrival of coronavirus’ cold winds.

When this storm finally has been vanquished and it is safe to come out again, to break the barrier of personal space, to converse in intimate human circles over coffee or tea and chill, I will.

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And I will stroll slowly across golden sands for miles of beach. No city code to breach. I will speak to everyone I pass. Lie blissfully upon emerald blades of park grass.

Watch daylight pass as the orange-red sun sinks from a purplish evening sky and children’s voices blend with the crickets’ song while fireflies twinkle before their widened eyes.

And though I no longer have a head of hair, I just might plop down in a barber’s chair. Break my vow to allow someone beside myself to trim my beard. To rub my face with lilac tonic after lining me with a straight edge from ear to ear.

When this storm is over, I will remember when freedoms taken for granted were stolen like a thief in the night. And at the end of the tunnel we could see no sure sign of light.

When hospitals and morgues were swollen with the sick and the dead. When the hourly news and our conversations were filled with caution and dread.

Too many visions of gloved and masked humanity fill my head. Inescapable the daily count of the infected and the dead.

Desolate streets and shuttered stores, people locked behind unwelcoming doors. Anxiety pours like gushing rain. Undeniable strain. Economic drain. Some of us muse that there may be lessons to gain from this storm. Perhaps joy after pain.

And when this storm has finally passed, there will be no fear of pumping gas. No migraines over grocery shopping or using cash. No drive-up only restaurant orders and curbside pick-ups. No consternation over human touch.

When this storm has finally passed, I will attempt to clear my head of new phobias.Forever banish from my thoughts ever achieving any possible semblances of utopia — scarred for life by the word “pandemic,” and having prayed to God for mercy while living in it.

I will purge my nostrils of the pungent scents of Lysol and bleach. I might even treat my feet: Pedicures and TLC. Outdoor downtown cafes on summer eves.

The crack of the bat on an afternoon at Wrigley. Live bigly. Country music and beer drifting on a late-night breeze. Rib fests, tank tops and sundresses. Our souls at ease.

I long for us to again be free ...

I long simply to sit beneath the umbrella on the veranda of my local coffee house. Choppin’ it up with the fellas, and chillin’ out.

Long to escape this frozen, quarantined world in which we find ourselves nowadays— reflecting on the way we once lived, loved and played. Remembering the way we were not that long ago. And longing to return, even as corona’s cold winds still blow.

But I can’t help but wonder if we can ever return. Or is this the new normal? My heart still yearns.

I miss the Saturday movie theater matinee. And by the time this storm passes, I will have missed the sights and sounds of children at play—frolicking at crystal sprinkling water fountains and swimming pools. The pound of the basketball and squeaking shoes.

I miss the way we moved: Engaging as instruments in the human symphony of life. Breath-to-breath, hand-to-hand, eye-to-eye.

When the storm passes, I hope we’ll try.

Email: Author@johnwfountain.com

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