Unmasking a Friend

This pandemic has brought out a few anomalies, but the one I marvel at most is when I can walk freely into a bank wearing my dark mask, my woolie hat and my big dark glasses without being stopped or having any eyebrows lifted. I marvel at this because only a year ago—pre-pandemic—the bank had a large sign at the entrance proclaiming that anyone entering had to remove their hat, their dark glasses and anything obscuring his/her face. What a difference a year made.

During this pandemic era—the talent we all acquire—to varying degrees, is the ability to recognize friends who are wearing masks. Eyes are very personable and are usually—note, I said usually –an identifying feature of good friends.

Laughing blue eyes danced above a mask with tiny black cats cavorting against a cream coloured background.

“Hello, my Dear Friend,” was the joyful greeting. “It’s been too long since I’ve seen you!”

“It certainly has been much too long,” I replied, at the same time thinking those eyes are familiar. Is that Betsy from my sing-along group?”

“Oh my, it’s been so long since I’ve seen anyone from our group. I feel like I’ve been let out of jail and this is my first day of freedom.” The merry blue eyes twinkled above her face mask as she carefully looked me over. A slightly puzzled look appeared briefly in her eyes and swiftly passed.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen anyone from our group,” I replied, desperately searching my memory for the name belonging to merry blue eyes who likes cats.

“There’s quite a few of us living in this area and I’m always surprised we don’t meet more of our group.”

“I’m only sorry we can’t enjoy a cup of coffee somewhere,” I replied regretfully.

“Me too. You know, I always thought our bird-watching group was safe. After all, we’re socially distanced and it’s all outdoors, so I couldn’t understand why this was all cancelled until futher notice.”

“Bird-watching? I’m sorry I’m not in your bird-watching group. I thought you were in my sing-along group!”

“You know, I thought there was something different about you, but I didn’t think it would be mistaken identity!” Merry-Blue-Eyes laughed.

“These darn masks makes it hard to recognize anyone including family,” was my amused answer. “Yesterday, I met my cousin for lunch. She was wearing her mask plus a new short haircut that was hard for me to recognize her. I was commenting on her “Audrey Hepburn” hair-do when I felt this tap on my shoulder and a familiar voice said, “Sorry, I’m late but parking is terrible here. Who’s your friend?” It was then I realized I had been chatting to a total stranger.

The blue-eyes were laughing when I told my “cousin” story. “Oh my,” she chuckled, “that is so funny. Now we both have another pandemic story to tell our friends and families.”

We exchanged names so that next time we saw each other in the Village, we would truly recognize a friend and recall her name. Margaret and I parted with a wave and a smile.

How did I know she was smiling? I knew because it’s all in the eyes. . .

2 thoughts on “Unmasking a Friend

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