“It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter.”
Here Comes the Sun — George Harrison
I was now entering the seventh month of living in Everett, Washington, having been exiled there by the virus. The news from Thailand continued to be discouraging: Immigration would relax its entry requirements only to have yet another another variant wave come crashing through, forcing them to backtrack. Things seemed to change almost on a weekly basis. Making any plans was like trying to hit a moving target. Forget it.
Over the winter I’d been in touch with my younger brother Mark down in Dallas. We had made tentative plans to try and get together for first Thanksgiving, then Christmas, only to be thwarted by the latest version of the virus. (I also must confess I didn’t savor mingling with the holiday crowds at the airport. Just asking for trouble.)
It was March before we were able to finally connect. The Omicron variant was not proving to be as lethal and the number of infections had noticeably dropped. Mark therefore suggested I fly down for my birthday in early April. Eager to be away from the chilly weather, I wasted no time booking a flight.
This raised the question of whether I should keep my hotel room. My inclination was to go to Dallas for just a couple of weeks like I usually do, so I’d need a place to come back to. But Mark told me he had an extra bedroom and I was welcome to stay for as long as I wished. I didn’t need much encouragement. It would be sunny and warm down there with great food and excellent wines (my brother, like my friend Gail, knows his way around a wine store). A more than welcome change.
I checked out on April 5. It was a cold, windy and thoroughly unpleasant morning. I shivered as I waited outside for the cab to the airport. This would be not so much a departure as another one of my escapes.
I never returned to the hotel.