A group of my coworkers got together last week for a covid-style retirement send off: a car parade complete with signs and balloons, followed by a short gift presentation in the driveway.
It was the first time I’d seen most of them in person in almost a year, though they show up on my computer screen several times a week, and I underestimated how much I’d missing them. Here they were, in the flesh, embodied, three-dimensional people. We waved and elbow-bumped and air-hugged.
Someone made a joke and we all laughed, and the sound of it took me by surprise. I don’t know when I was last in a group of people who were laughing, the sound only muted by our masks and not by the sporadic audio of Zoom. The melody of it was as good for the soul as the hugs we couldn’t share.
Had it been October instead of February, we would have lingered in the driveway, smiling with our eyes and appreciating each other. But it was cold and starting to snow, and so we said good-bye and hurried back to our cars and our computer screens.