Love You Bad

And I just wanna love you bad.

— Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, and Kamasi Washington feat. Phoelix

The pandemic is a trickster god. There have been moments, hours, days during this past year when I was convinced I was alone in this less than epic story of survival. Before COVID, my love well filled with the smiles of strangers, the soft eyes of my friends and family, and the hugs and high fives of all willing partners.

My life force demands laughter.

My currency is kindness.

My vault used to overflow with both.

Love in the time of the pandemic is the accumulation of small favors. A box of cookies from another state might sustain my soul for weeks. A compliment from a grocery store clerk might keep me buoyant for the day. Strangers delighted by my LED face mask on a walk would bring a huge grin to my face that they couldn’t see. A text. A postcard. A surprise socially distanced drive by. A video chat happy hour that doesn’t suck.

But that’s not every day. In those late summer months, the little things that matter most to me felt out of stock. My love well was so dry.

A colleague’s mother got critically ill in late September, and that was the time when I figured out that I could replenish my love supply: by showing others you give a shit.

I give a shit about you.

I’ve been doing the little things, and I hope it shows. If it doesn’t, I understand, though. That pandemic trickster god has been a stubborn asshole who has long overstayed their welcome.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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