“And when you’re using language, you can create it, use it to divide people and build walls, or you can turn it into something where we can see each other more clearly, as a bridge.”
I rode in a car, safely. Masked, windows opened all the way. We sat in a twelve foot distanced circle — four people makes a circle. Four directions, four chairs, six bags of snacks, and a two drink minimum. Outside. We all took our masks off, the air hit our faces and no one could think of what to say. Our masks, off. Our smiles like cool clay, being warmed by the joy of looking on different and familiar faces.
One of us had even brought gifts. She lay them six feet away from us in the grass at our feet. Cookies for one, fresh peanut butter for another, and a begonia for me. They lay quietly in the grass as little symbols. The wind twisted around us, the sun went down, and my nose got cold.
When the time comes to take off the masks and we walk out of the buildings into sunlight, we might not know how to use our own mouths and voices. We might have to relearn a way to speak to and with one another. We will need to step forward, back, side to side. To wait for our turn. To wait until the answer comes before calling out. To be gentle and soft with our words. We might feel frozen, overwhelmed by the joy of different and familiar faces, seeing one another more clearly.