Maine Observer: The masks are removed, but the masquerade continues
Masquerade came to mind one evening with a soft, comfortable breeze making its way along Congress Street, like we had no worries in the world. Well, on the face of it, we didn’t, with a slight smile on our faces, a slight rhythm to our walk, and looking forward to dinner and the theatre; an evening was the theme, leaving the worries of COVID and the safety of our puppies under lock and key.
So why did I feel slightly agitated, not uncomfortable because it would be too definitive, more vague – risk of rain or trying to remember something you forgot. What I felt revolved around me in the restaurant as we took our seats at the bar. There were only a few other people doing the same and quietly drinking their drinks, too early and too sparse to invite conversation from a stranger. Don’t get me wrong, the atmosphere was cozy, filled with votive candles lined up on the bar, sexyly reflecting the light off the oak bar. We knew the food would be more than satisfying, and I don’t want to give you the wrong impression of my well-being either. I didn’t feel like I was being watched in any conspiratorial way. Nevertheless, a slow unease grew around me.
As we left the restaurant feeling satisfied and more carefree, especially after a glass of wine (amazing how it works), that gentle breeze guiding us back to the theatre, we remembered how things had changed after more than two years of pandemic and the reminder-displacement of service workers, shopkeepers, restaurants and how much more expensive it was now to go out in town.
It was then that I realized what I had felt earlier that evening. I had looked around for people on the street, almost automatically, as I had always done, and peered through the windows of other restaurants and stores still open. He was there, looking at me the whole time, really obvious. After all, it was Thursday night, not Sunday or Monday, but that big night when restaurants, theaters, bars are busy with happy people making noises like laughter, chatter, excitement as they looked forward to their work-weekend pleasures.
No, there was none of that and it came to mind, it all came true, the truth of how we feel, not joyful, celebrating the end of a pandemic, because we know, under the pretense, we know it’s not over and the remnants of this insidious virus face us on this quiet Thursday night. The few of us parading up and down Congress Street were trying to convince ourselves and others that it was okay; hey look at us we are not worried we are not even wearing masks.
It was a charade, and played so well that we almost convinced ourselves that everything was normal.
— Telegram Special
Class A athletics: Farr of Gorham and Connors of Bangor dominate the sprints