“Happy Friday,” I replied.
Saturday nights became Friday and Saturday nights which became weekends.
In the second week of March, we discovered compatibility on the tennis courts, and I began to share my stress about how the world was getting increasingly edgy about the coronavirus. What if I couldn’t fly to Stockholm? Would it be foolish to move to Toronto and risk falling through a gap in provincial health care coverage?
“You can always stay in my second bedroom,” David said.
The offer felt at once too much and too little. Being roommates wasn’t how I saw a relationship evolving, but what was I doing even thinking about such a thing? I had my plan. I was traveling and then moving. They would have to shut down the borders to stop me. And so they did.
Still, I bargained. This was a radical, two-week measure. They would get control of the virus. And, even if that didn’t happen, I would say my goodbyes on schedule and find an Airbnb a thousand miles north in the Yukon.
I continued to engage my planning brain while feeling all the more foolish. My preparations had been laser focused on paring down rather than hoarding. I had spent months whittling supplies down to the final shakes of a cinnamon tin and a last roll of toilet paper. I could still have my three months of travel, gas station Doritos and the remoteness of the tundra filling in for Swedish cardamom buns and the medieval charm of Old Town in Estonia’s capital.
Seven weeks in, David and I took our first selfie, my hair still relatively tame and a full two weeks before he shaved his head. We walked many miles that day, appreciating the sunshine, the beaches and each other. The time outdoors felt like a special privilege. Would the country soon go into full lockdown, like France and Italy?
With changes in his work schedule, including a big savings without a commute, we began seeing each other daily, taking to walking along the most scenic parts of the city, offering each other an ear and a distraction as David tracked the daily coronavirus numbers in British Columbia and I fretted over packing and where I would wind up in a week after getting booted from my home.