I went to a bar last night. For the first time in 14 months. For the first time, I drank cheap beer. I was a part of polite conversations. I had one genuine connection with someone I’ve never met before. We followed each other on instagram at the end of the night. For the first time in 14 months, I had a man explain to me that he loves to ask people questions because everyone loves to talk about themselves and what they know even though he was doing that himself at me for 10 minutes (although it felt like 20). I saw a frenemy’s henchman from my past who was nice to me. And I was nice to them. No reason to be mean or nasty — we all lived through something most people didn’t.

I saw friends that had no idea what I went through in the last year. I had no idea what they truly went through. No one wanted to discuss it . We just alluded to it. We craved normalcy and the reconnection but there was nothing normal about the night.

Why did I go? Yes, my friend was DJ’ing. Yes, I was happy to see friends I haven’t seen in over a year. No, I didn’t get to see all of my friends that I have been anxiously anticipating reunion. And yes, that outing may prevent me from seeing certain friends with health issues or who haven’t been completed their vaccinations.

I don’t know if it’s fair to even ask if it was worth it. It was an opportunity to see my friend who has wanted to DJ, and see other friends I have missed. It’s only been a few hours since I’ve been home. I don’t know if I’ve been exposed and am sick or carrying a variant of COVID-19. And as nervous as I was to go out, it was nice to bask in an opportunity to hang out, shoot the shit because our time seemed to be ours again.

if you leave me alone, i will love you forever.