I write this on the anniversary of the arrival of the virus that changed our lives. I remember clearly the day before that arrival. The sky was blue, the grass was green, the birds were singing and poets everywhere were composing sonnets to their beloved. There was too music in the air.

Or maybe I am imposing on the last normal day we had all kinds of magical and mystical qualities. It may actually have been a terrible, wet day with no blue in the sky, not a bird in sight and if the grass was green we weren’t aware of it. Poets might have been contemplating jumping off the roof of their buildings for all I know.

But you are allowed to remember the past the way you want to remember it. Anyway, the point I make is that psychologically it was a perfect day given what was to follow. I mean, you could see the bottom half of everybody’s faces then, follow a smile, and actually hug family and friends.

What is ‘hug’, you ask me. I’ll tell you. It is the action of, well, it is when…er, you throw out your arms…no wait, it’s on the tip of my tongue… no, sorry, I have forgotten. I have used the word in the past, but I can’t connect it to anything. It has dropped out of my life through lack of usage. That’s probably the case with most of us. We look forward to hugging our near and dear ones, but we have forgotten what that means.

If I dig deep enough, I can excavate other memories from the past. Not just the words, but what they stand for. Remember movie theatres where you could watch James Bond thrashing villains or Bollywood villains dancing around trees before lining up to be thrashed? Remember how you could turn to the person sitting next to you at a Neil Simon play and slap his thigh as well as yours in appreciation of a good joke?

Airports were friendly places you visited when the airlines lost your luggage. Football stadiums were great places to shout and cheer and curse and buy burgers and soda. You dressed in the same outfit as the players to show your support and in the hope of being mistaken for one of them.

All this was considered ‘normal’, or ‘routine’. And then the virus arrived and changed our lives. No movies, no football, no plays, no concerts. And no hugs whatever these are.

And now it has been a year. Remember live music, meeting up with friends for no reason, wearing something more than shorts and a T-shirt for work and play? No, I don’t either.

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