Sandhya Acharya: We Will Love Again

2 min

The changes we’re experiencing are vast and deep, even in the ways we love. Sandhya Acharya wonders whether they’re permanent.

We were savoring the last spoonful of a new brand of yogurt. “Thank you,” I declared to the maker of the yogurt, calling out the name that was emblemed on the packaging and added, “I love you.” My 8-year-old immediately exclaimed “Don’t say ‘love’. What if she gets coronavirus?”

I suspect he already knows virtual transmission of the virus can’t happen, but this was his first reaction. Lockdown in coronavirus times means no playing with friends, no foursquare, no following lizards, no jumping on logs until the school bell rings, no circle time. Lockdown means no love, because love can cause coronavirus.

I wondered what scars are going to stay when this whole thing is over. Will we instinctively walk a few feet away when we see a neighbor walking down the street? Will we always worry about who touched what when we buy something? Will we hesitate before we hug?

On that day, I explained to my son that coronavirus can’t spread because we love someone. We keep our distance because we love someone. And I don’t need to hug or touch someone to show them I love them. I didn’t need to explain any further. He grinned and said, “I know, I know,” and went off to play with his brother.

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It will take us a while to come back to normal — weeks, months, years, who knows. But we humans adapt. For now, we meet cousins on screens. We take piano classes, dance classes, art classes online. We stitch stuffies and make spinning wheels. We bake cookies and plant seeds. We wave to neighbors from afar and engage with friends on virtual games.

I take solace in history. Humans have weathered storms, some worse than this. It will take a while, but things will be different again, and with some luck and collective introspection, maybe even better. Schools will be open, and playgrounds will resound with children’s laughter again. We will participate in games and meet at parties again. We might do more things virtually, but we will hug freely again.

We will love again.

With a Perspective, I’m Sandhya Acharya.

Sandhya Acharya is an author and writer of children’s books.