Barkeep! Another Round of Hugs, please!

After another long COVID week, I am longing for some refreshment. Liquid? Virtual? Physical? Any kind of refreshment. I think I’d like a Lemon Drop Martini. It’s been many years since I’ve ordered one. If the barkeeper has been careful passing it to the waitperson and the waitperson has managed to get to my table without a jostling, I will have a lovely sweet-tart beverage without the lemon sugar syrup sliding down the stem of the glass. Maybe too sweet, but refreshing nonetheless with a hint of summer on this grey day. Better yet, a Lemon Drop Martini made with Limoncello—for flashbacks to Italy and Italian places. I had my first limoncello on the island of Capri after taking the funicular to the top of the hill and walking along a stone path that clung to a hillside shaded by a bougainvillea-covered pergola. Fuchsia bougainvillea demands that you remember it. Then there was Prosecco and crisp calamari near the square. The memories of beverages sipped—or thrown back— in foreign places keep alive the faint promise that we shall leave home once again. In the meantime, there are virtual visits where we see ourselves mask-less and unadorned. This new normal is not welcomed, but it is necessary. What I miss most are hugs. One day when we are free, I’ll cross the sunny threshold of a cafe. “Barkeep! Hugs all around!” I’ll say. And then I’ll throw my arms around you and I won’t let go.

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