Two nights ago, after I got home from work, I sat on my front step and talked to my best friend about the highs and lows of this week—week nine of quarantine. With nothing but the sound of my pruned, calloused hands (my hands are always such a weird combination of damp yet dry after work) mindlessly tracing a piece of mulch against my pants and the faintest hum of my porch light, we talked like it was just a random day in February again.
Like it was just a day. Not another day in quarantine. Not another day straying further and further from the life of normalcy we may never return to. We just talked like it was just another day.
And then I tossed the piece of mulch back into its pile, we said our goodbyes, and I opened my front door—leaving behind that fleeting feeling of normalcy. Of quiet that isn’t eerie, of darkness that isn’t scary.
I opened my front door, set my keys down, and just sighed.
It’s not February, and life isn’t normal, and I have to go back to work in a few days, and my hands always feel so weird after work, and I miss what I haven’t even experienced yet, and I have a whole school to-do list that I can’t even look at.
I let these thoughts—these too big and too small thoughts—dance through my brain, my veins, my body as I poured myself a glass of orange juice and warmed up a can of soup.
I took my weird, not-nutritious dinner to the dining room table, and I decided at that moment that I wasn’t going to try and do anything to cure the overwhelming ache of nostalgia, of sadness, of loneliness.
I basked in it, really, and definitely made it worse by shuffling Bon Iver’s discography. I sat there, nearing 11 o’clock, with my headphones in and lukewarm soup in front of me, and let myself feel, let myself cry, and let myself bask in every negative emotion I was feeling.
The following night—last night—went a bit differently, and the events that unfolded truly reminded me how human I am, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
I had the day off yesterday, and I started the day by picking up a slice of ice cream cake from my best friend and ended it with a 200-person dance party—over Zoom, of course.
Before this legendary dance party, I had been painting, and then I realized I was an hour late to fan-favorite Maude Latour’s release party for her new single. It sounded like so much fun and something I really needed after my soup sob-session the night before, so I was frantically trying to enter the Zoom code for the launch party before I missed the actual midnight-release of the single.
Of course, my Zoom initially wasn’t working, but I eventually got in and immediately joined in on the giddy excitement of everybody waiting for midnight to hit. Everyone looked so happy—I saw tiny cowboy hats, leis, LED lights, sunglasses, Hawaiian shirts—and it was a moment that so starkly contrasted the moments of the previous nights that I just laughed.
I just laughed, I just danced, and I just felt the warmth and support of every person on this 200-person Zoom. It was at that moment that I, as cliché as it is, felt so human, so alive. I went from crying while eating soup that wasn’t even that good to dancing in my room with 200 others doing the same to a song that I’ve been anticipating for weeks, and it’s that contrast that truly makes up me.
I am as fickle as these fleeting dance parties and fleeting moments of February-feeling chats. If one thing is constant during quarantine, other than every single day feeling the same, it’s the fact that I’m not. Every day I feel differently about different things, and I’ve accepted that it’s okay to not feel the same exact emotions every day.
And I’ve accepted that it’s okay to cry one day and dance the next.