One Day Before COVID Shutdown

As the days ticked by, the whispers of COVID-19 grew louder and more insistent. But like everyone else, I dismissed them. “Another pandemic,” I muttered, unfazed by the world’s constant cycle of viruses. My drinking persisted, a numbing agent for the pain left in the wake of my father’s death. My birthday loomed ominously, a double-edged sword that brought the sting of my sister’s death anniversary with it. Aware of my fragile emotional state, my wife Brenna took it upon herself to plan a day I would never forget. She arranged for us to have massages, easing the tension from my body, followed by a soak in a steaming hot tub. The warmth enveloped me, providing temporary solace from the torrent of emotions brewing within. We indulged in Japanese BBQ, the sizzling meats and fragrant aromas a welcome distraction from my thoughts. Our laughter mingled with the crackling of the grill as we enjoyed each other’s company, a reminder that there was still joy to be found in life. After our meal, we picked up party supplies for the evening, with Brenna keeping the details of the celebration under wraps. I could see the excitement in her eyes, a spark that ignited a flicker of anticipation within me. That evening, as made our way back home, I discovered what she had been hiding: a tribute to my past, a piece of my history seamlessly woven into the festivities. The room was charged with undeniable energy as if the universe was conspiring to give me this one perfect moment before everything changed. The very next day, the world came to a screeching halt. The whispers of COVID-19 turned into deafening shouts, as lockdowns and restrictions swept across the globe. Our lives were irrevocably altered, the reality we had known slipping through our fingers like sand. But in the midst of the madness, a moment was created that night that I will always cherish. It would be our final hurrah before the world shut down, and the last bit of normalcy we’d experience for a while.

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