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Most of this year never happened. A whole year of whispers slipping between our fingers, nearly a whole year missed.

I missed coffee shops. I missed taking a book to a bar on a Friday afternoon, sitting alone through two beers and four chapters. I missed friends coming over, their weird kids running around outside or downstairs with my weird kid while we talk like adults less and less ironically, standing, always, in the kitchen and leaving all the soft furniture empty. I missed live art and live music, missed, especially, the walk out with the crowd having seen and shared something that any recording or retelling will fail to fully capture.

I missed nearly all of what the year could have been. Close family and a few cheats included, I’ve hugged fewer people since March than I would have hugged in a day.

Most of all, really, I missed going to work. A whole (and probably too-big) piece of who I am is the work I do. A whole (and noticeably absent) piece of how I hold on to happiness and hope is the work I do with young people.

There have been good moments over distance learning, enough to scrape and press together into what would have been a pretty good week of teaching before all this. I missed all the rest. Thousands and thousands more moments missed.

I missed school that didn’t make kids cry so much, missed school that made me laugh so much more. I missed the students I have this year, even when I see them online, most when I see them online. This is an especially special group, and I missed all of these days I could have had with them.

The year is missing, has been missed. And when it’s over, when life has become whatever it will become that isn’t this, I will miss it, miss parts of it.

I’ll miss how often I get to hear my wife and kid laugh about dog videos or Space Force uniforms in another room, or the kid cackling about some videogame nonsense with friends in their room that I’ll hear about and pretend to understand at dinner. I’ll miss whole weeks without driving. I’ll miss soft pants and time to read and take walks and little naps during a lunch time that is more than just enough time to not really eat.

And still so much of this year never happened. I missed it. I missed the illusion of control. I missed whole days without the spectre of death and disease, weeks of being too busy to get too far into my own head.

I missed faces. Missed meeting whole new people who would float into my orbit and stay or burn bright and fierce on their way in and away.

We’ve got months more, maybe months and months of missing. There’s nothing to do, really, except know that all this missing we’re doing means that more of us get to be here and whole when we get to stop missing each other, get to be present and close and with each other.

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