My wife and I like to sneak away to have lunch together during the workweek when we can.
Just the other day I went to her workplace, a bag of fast food in hand to drop off some lunch for her. At least I think it was her. It’s hard to tell with those facemasks everyone should be wearing these days.
It’s not quite the romantic getaway we used to enjoy prior to the coronavirus pandemic. We used to actually get in a car together, drive somewhere, walk inside a restaurant and sit and chat while we waited for our food. Sometimes we’d even finish our food and stay there talking a while. We really enjoyed each other’s company.
Ah, those were the good old days. Or five months ago. Maybe both.
Our wedding anniversary is coming up next week. We’ve both been so shell-shocked by the extra work that comes with the virus in our respective careers that we were almost surprised by the upcoming anniversary when one of the children mentioned it. I had to look at a calendar. Sure enough, it is coming up.
Back in those good old days, we’d celebrate our anniversary in style. We’d go out to a decent restaurant, maybe share a bottle of wine and enjoy ourselves. I’d sit there, staring into her eyes as we chatted. Maybe we’d do a little shopping or take a short walk, reminiscing about what makes us a good couple.
That’s just not the same this year. When we think about going anywhere, we think about wearing masks and worrying about people freaking out about the pandemic. While I can still gaze into her eyes, it’s not the same if I can’t see her nose, mouth and chin unencumbered by a mask.
I often feel sorry for people who are trying to date during these strange days. If you used to count a successful date by rounding the bases, now just finding a game that wasn’t canceled seems to be a victory, even if you strike out in every at-bat.
I’m glad that I found my beloved wife prior to the pandemic. I’m glad we met at all, since the series of unsuccessful relationships in my 20s looked too much like a bad situational comedy (including a woman bringing a date of her own to one outing I thought was a date, a personal low for me).
Our relationship has changed over the years, as life does to you. We still sneak away for moments at a time. We drive into work together a few days a week to get some alone time. We mostly laugh and sympathize when we hear about the frustrating obstacles COVID-19 threw in front of our respective callings. We listen intently until someone’s phone starts ringing and interrupts.
Sometimes, it’s just really quiet. I spend that time thinking through the things in my life I don’t want to talk to her about, since there’e little either of us can do, it just rates as base gossip or they’re tales of woe that I barely care about, much less want to burden on her.
In those quiet moments, I’ll often reach over, pat her on the knee and smile. It’s like the song we danced to at our wedding says, “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”