It’s possible I have mask fatigue. That when I leave my sunny apartment, where I spend my days applying for jobs and attending school remotely and sitting with Rocky on my couch watching 30 Rock (subtitles on, those jokes are so good), I leave a cocoon of safety and harmony, of a well-stocked freezer filled with dark chocolate bars, and piles of books I need to read, and enter a dystopia of fear and longing. Eyebrows stitched, eyes darting, faces lost under masks—masks that have been handmade, masks that are white/blue cloths, masks that are for fume prevention. Masks. Like all of us, I used to see faces; now all I have is eye contact, and eye contact was never my forte, of locking eyes and acknowledging someone. I miss faces. I miss looking into someone’s face, in a blink of an eye, and writing their whole history in my mind, of who they are and how they were. I have to look further now, to get a sense of who a person is, I have to consider their ensemble, their choice of mask, they way their hands are clasped (hands reveal so much, I’ve learned).
There are so many days when I leave my apartment to walk Rocky when I forget to wear a mask and I have to shame-facedly race back into my apartment to put a mask on. Shame, irresponsibility, horror. Not wearing a mask is not an option, and yet, I’ve grown to have such disdain for the act of it. Of all that it is a reminder of, of all that it represents, of all the lives lost. See, that is the fatigue talking.
So, I’m trying to re-charge. Get a new appreciation. Of looking forward, to a time when I can see the facial hair, and the nose rings, and the chin hairs of passers by. Because I know that time is coming, that I will be able to see my friends faces, and hug them, and sit beside them on benches. Soon, soon, soon.