At the beginning of the pandemic, I had been living in Mexico where life was sunny, with a beach a few blocks away and every week a new wave of excited tourists arrived.
But with the rise of covid, life deadened. Tourism halted. No longer did friends visit. Local friends were summoned back to their home country. And my girlfriend and I struggled with differing opinions on a quarantine/social-life balance.
A few months in, I boarded a plane and flew away from a warm ocean, my career, and a woman I loved, as I returned home, to Minnesota at the precipice of winter.
At thirty-four years old, I moved back in with my mom who I hadn’t lived with since I was fifteen. My life froze in time.
Minnesota was cold. And yet, no matter the weather, each day something compelled my mom and I to take a walk together. It’s below zero degrees outside? Okay, we put on any extra layer of gloves.
We shoved our hands into gloves and the gloves into our jacket pockets. With our heads down watching for ice, we walked. And we talked.
That winter we talked for more hours than the previous thirty-four years combined. Previously, conversations between us weren’t longer than ten minutes, quick check-ins to ensure each other was still alive. But on these hour-long walks, the only thing to do to forget about the chilly wind was to talk.
And I realized, no matter how cold life gets, conversations with a loved one will always warm you up.