My 365 sentences project is a shared venture with @scrufflibrarian. For every day that I write something, he draws something and posts it on Instagram. Early on, we agreed that we'd swap a couple of days here and there, and today is our first. I drew something, and Phil wrote this beautiful piece.
The masks didn't bother the kids, they'd never known any different. A whole generation. But they bothered us, and a lot of others who could remember before. The seals would get wet, or a speck of dust or grit would get lodged in there, and before you knew it your neck would be red raw. You weren't supposed to loosen them, of course, for any reason at all, but sometimes it just felt too good not to break the rules; to slide your finger under the seal and rub the skin there while the warning tone beeped, steady as a metronome.
But worst of all? Imagine never being able to truly look someone in the eye. The slight curve of the glass always distorted things. That bothered me like nothing else.
That night, we lay side-by-side, and we each pulled the catch at the top of our spines until it clicked free. Together, we lifted our masks clear of our heads, and we finally got to really look at each other. We'd promised ourselves we would be quick, but we got lost in the looking, and the chirping of the alarms didn't seem quite so important any more.