I miss faces. I miss lips and smiles and full expressions. I miss the beauty of cheekbones, chins, freckles, beauty marks, and dimples. Those seemingly small details that set us apart. And noses! Who would have thought we were taking noses for granted?

It is truly the eyes’ time to shine — those windows to the soul are having to carry the whole thing off. They are up to the task, but I still miss the full-portrait introduction of first time meetings, of strangers in passing.

Masks can be a bother. I cannot wear my glasses with my mask because they fog up so quickly. I sweat incessantly and can’t wait to take it off when I get back in my car. (Hats off to those who work with the public and wear them all the day long.) In the grand scheme of things my complaints are such small inconveniences.

I miss seeing faces all the same.

I miss a lot of things these days.

So much of what was once the norm is now lacking (and has been for months). I read an article recently that termed the new ways of doing things as “ambiguous loss,” and said that there is a real grieving process to not having life operate as it once did. All these seemingly little changes, along with the big ones, add up.

For a lot of us the shock may have now worn off, and we are entering into different phases of grieving “what once was.”

We adjust and move forward, but there is still a very present loss felt. For some that loss is palpable, and it feels like too much to ask to face it in the midst of all the other coping and survival skills that have already kicked into gear.

Denial is often a defense mechanism used when one is asked to face a harsh reality.

I was baffled when so many began to argue cases against the necessity of mask wearing during a contagious pandemic. I felt it was simply common sense. But, so much these days feels less common and more absurd. Facts are no longer facts, and news is not news when we do not want it to be true or when it disagrees with our own standards and proclivities. Events taking place in plain sight are being treated as if they aren’t real, even when there is live footage of events unfolding — even when there is very real loss of human life still occurring.

Maybe those who ignored safety measures at the onset, and continue to do so, are in denial.

May we continue to check our own ideals against the true state of things, and remove any blinders we might be entertaining. Slide the cloth that may be over your eyes down a few inches, and cover your nose and mouth with it if you aren’t wearing a mask.

There are some who still refuse to wear masks based only on the belief that they are useless. I ask you, what’s it gonna hurt to err on the side of caution? Because what if, just what if, these medical professionals, scientists, chemists, and technicians are onto something and it involves salvaging lives?

There is still a risk. There is still a cost, that, in too many cases, cannot be paid back.

I miss faces.

But I’d miss the whole person more.

Born in Rome, Olivia Gunn returned to her roots after a brief time of study at a university in Scotland. She is an honors graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Gordon State College and is currently working on a book of essays and poetry as well as a memoir.

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