I spent most of the month of June in Minneapolis in a blur. There were so many emotions — from the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the upcoming election, and traveling to care for my mom, who was facing health issues and was more fragile than I had ever seen her in my life. One thing that was clear to me was that I wanted to cherish the important relationships in my life. I wrote postcards to my best friends. I thanked my mom’s friends and doctors from the bottom of my heart. And I decided to give online dating a chance for the first time.
Pre-pandemic, I was working too much and had a busy social life. Stepping out of the go-go-go 2019 mode — and grappling with loneliness and my mom’s illness — made me wish for a long-term partner to share the load with. I was finally in a place where I actually wanted to be in a relationship.
I met Thor on a dating app where we chatted about music, books, and art. I was open about my mom’s illness on my profile, partly to scare off anyone too casual but also to see if I could find a genuine soul who cared about family and wanted to talk about the scary things in life.
Our first date was on Zoom for two hours. He pointed out things he noticed on my app profile and asked me more about them, including my mom. We decided to meet for a masked walk that weekend before I flew out to Minneapolis to take care of my mom again.
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We met at the bleachers of Aquatic Park on a chilly San Francisco summer day. We walked to the Marina and Crissy Field, talking about everything from the pandemic to our families and upbringing. At one point, the hat of an elderly man who was walking ahead of us was blown off by the wind. When we both chased after it, I smiled behind my mask.
I was falling in love.
I took another Covid-19 test and flew to Minneapolis after that date. Thor and I kept in touch via text and had another Zoom date that final week of June. I’m happy we got to know each other through texts and video calls. There was no physical pressure that often comes from meeting for drinks or going out to dinners.
On July 4, I came back to the city, and Thor and I met at Ocean Beach for a hike. He gave me a handmade card. We kissed for the first time and set off for a long walk.
Kissing someone during a pandemic is a risk and a demonstration of trust. First kisses in my adult life had been the punch-drunk kinds, nice but carefree. This time, though, it was meaningful. We had built trust with each other.
We spent the summer discovering local hiking trails and quiet beaches all around the Bay Area. We participated in the local Covid-safe art scenes. We made appearances in each other’s video chats with our respective moms.