The new goodbye

March 31, 2021 10:30 AM

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View of highway, blue sky, and distant traffic from the author's ride home. Photo courtesy of the author.

View of highway, blue sky, and distant traffic from the author's ride home. Photo courtesy of the author.

The rides home are the hardest. Fresh off the image of my grandparents’ melancholy faces and my cousin’s gloomy wave behind the living room window, I stand with my mom in the driveway and hide a frown under my mask. I look up at the sky under the guise of observing its color while willing the tears back. 

My family used to see each other every week — games, pizza, the whole deal. Now, our relationships are like transactions in the Agora; except it’s not the Agora, it’s a quiet parking lot at 6 p.m. in a suburban neighborhood. There isn’t much talking beside a sniffle behind a mask, a terse thank you, and the awkward shuffle of feet because we want to hug each other — to revel in the distance that has wedged itself between us — but can’t. The flicker of headlights as we back out from the driveway is our new goodbye.

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