When I embrace my mom, my body melts into her warmth. My forehead nestles in her arm and the weight of everything slowly dissipates and floats far away into an unknown abyss, with the rest of the worries, the nightmares, the little fires. When she hugs me, sounds fizzle and fade into the mist of calm. She’ll run her fingers through my hair, and I temporarily forget everything that was. She smells like home, like my childhood, like crepes and shampoo. I want to hug her soon.

My dad’s strong cologne and aftershave — his brand, roams my parents’ home, whispers “come in.” His quick words and self-deprecating jokes lighten the depths of the foggy corridors. He teases and I retort. We laugh so hard we shatter the core of the Earth and burn away the ashes. I want to laugh with him soon.

My brother grounds me. We argue and we find clarity in our disagreements. I tell him he’s annoying and I squeeze him tight until tells me to leave me alone. So, I guess I am annoying too. I want to squeeze him soon.

Our families nurture. They welcome us and fill our plates. We catch up, question the world together, and find common sense in nonsensical times. I want to share with them soon.

My friends fill me with adventure, courage, strength. They challenge me, their smiles burrow in my heart like honeybees in daffodils. Their hugs keep me stable. Time with them keeps me light. I want to be with them soon.

I want my best friend to be safe. I want to drink coffee together and talk until we’re half-deflated balloons with nothing left to say.

I want my kids to hug their grandparents, to overfill their souls with their love.

I want my kids to play with their friends. To giggle, to argue, to share, to snuggle.

I want my kids to climb on slides and run through playgrounds and learn in school.

I want our lives to come back to us. I want to sit in a crowded restaurant with my girlfriends and laugh until we’re asked to leave.

I want to see my students. My coworkers. My classroom. I want to hear my boss’ heels click down the hall. I want to be interrupted.

I want it all. Just like you.

Yet, I wait. I wait and follow because all of the people I want to see, I want to see alive.

But you don’t wait. You have your playdates. You have your celebrations. You find it all too hard and too much. You fail at your social responsibility. You are above it all. Your needs matter more. Your wants crush all logic. You want so you do.

Just know we see you. We all see you. We see you all. We see how you feel about those who lost their livelihoods, those who lost their loved ones. We see your disregard. Your carelessness. We see you.

I write because it’s the only way for me to say what I really want to say. Also, because I can.