I had dinner with two dear women last night. I felt like a person restored to world. The night was cool and balmy, and the atmosphere felt almost festive, with lights strung over the street side gazebo and all the outdoor tables full. Inside the restaurant was completely empty, which is how it is lately. I wonder how restaurants will fare when the weather turns cold once more, given reports of the Delta variant flare. The Covid positivity rate is still pretty low in New York City, 2.8 percent yesterday, but it had fallen to less than a percent in May and June, and now the numbers are climbing again. I wonder if we will ever be out of this pandemic reality, especially given that vaccines don't stop us from getting Covid and spreading it, they just stop most of us from being hospitalized and dying from it. I hope that protection holds, given that new variants are emerging all the time.
One of my friends last night was indulging in a maskless social activity for only the second time in over a year. She was the last of my friends to be vaccinated, and she was very ambivalent about it all. But it was so good to be together again the way we once were, talking well into the night about our lives, our children, our fascinations and fears, just everything on the table, a judgment free zone.
I confessed my anxiety about the fact that my daughter will be flying to Miami for a bachelorette fling with the bride squad for one of her college friends who's getting married in three weeks. From there, she will fly to Oklahoma City to meet up with one of her former college roommates to drive cross country with her to New York. Her friend, who has been teaching in Phoenix since they graduated, is moving to the city for graduate school. You'll be traveling through unvaccinated country, I told my girl worriedly, and my husband gave me the look, the one that said, drop it, she's grown, she can make her own decisions and you just have to make peace with them. I didn't mention that another of my friends, when she heard about my
daughter's planned cross country jaunt, said dryly, "I hope her
former roommate is white and that she uses her white privilege on the
trip." The friend who made this comment is white, and she's married to a Black man, and they have two Black children. She knows whereof she speaks. But my husband is also right, of course. I have to let my children live their lives.
The good news is, our apartment will be my daughter's home base for the month of August. She'll travel back and forth from here. I love when she's here. Last week when she spent the night, I went in to check on her in the morning and, finding her awake and scrolling on her phone, I lay next to her on the bed. We had a lovely roaming conversation for the next hour, a sharing of hearts, in a way that only happens in person. She sent me that masked photo yesterday, when she was on the way home from the salon after taking down her braids and getting her hair styled for the upcoming wedding. The baseball cap photo she sent later shows her plan for when she's on the road, she said. No hot hair styling implements need be involved. How I adore her darling face.
My son has also traveled with college pals recently. He and his college housemates, along with their significant others (one is married and two are engaged) went back to the scene of wild revelries last weekend, and took this picture in front of the house where so much went down, the place where they lived for the last two years of college. My daughter used to call it "The Bro House." Only one of their housemates, the young man who was the other decathlete with my son on their college track team, was missing.
Apropos of nothing, my son and his love called us last night to ask if I could name all the events in the decathlon. "I assume Pops can name them," our cheeky boy said on speaker phone, "which is why I'm asking you." Apparently, they'd called a number of their friends with the question, after my son's fianceé insisted that hardly anyone would be able to name more than five of the events. That proved mostly true, as most people got to five and then struggled to name the rest. They told us this after I'd rattled them all off, only having difficulty with the number of meters for the hurdles event. "You did the best of everyone by far," my daughter-in-law to be told me. I felt rather proud, and didn't point out that as a mother, I'd watched my boy compete in every event, and my heart indelibly recorded each one. Shall I name the events now? Okay, here goes: High jump, long jump, 100 meter sprint, 110 meter hurdles, shot put, discus, javelin, pole vault, 400 meter, and the dreaded 1500 meter final event. He did all that, at meet after meet. Here is a photo of him warming up then. Has it really been eight years?
You'll have to forgive this reminiscence. Olympic track and field events have begun, and even with the great Usain Bolt no longer in the mix, the Jamaican sprinters are doing their thing. The truth? We are kind of insufferable when it comes to our track and field runners. As my niece just posted on Instagram, "Jamaica's area code is no longer 876. It's now 123"—this at the news that Jamaican women just posted a clean sweep, gold, silver, and bronze in the 100 meter finals. I'm off to watch!