Asha S.

Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca does not condone risk-taking, and encourages everyone to practice safe social-distancing. Hugging and touching of any kind should be avoided, even when wearing masks. We encourage everyone to maintain strict social distancing of six feet or more. 


“In the last two days I have seen friends that I haven’t seen in weeks. We have walked together, and talked and talked and talked.

In the first case we wore our masks, but held hands and wandered through town. I live with my family. I get touched all the time. But not by her. Not for months now. She lives alone. She has been horribly, lingeringly sick. She has not been touched by anyone. For months.

She took my hand and it felt shocking, dangerous. It felt like water in the desert.

We wandered. I walked her home, but we weren’t quite done yet, so we walked more.

I walked her home again. And then she walked me home. I was reminded of my mother and the fact that in Kiswahili there is actually a word, kusindikiza, for walking your guests home at the end of a visit. But then, inevitably, you visit more, standing there at their door, and they must walk you home. It can take a long time to get home for good in Tanzania.

It can be hard to know when to release the sweetness.

Yesterday I met another friend for a hike. We met at the trailhead. We were both not wearing our masks, but we put them on just so we could hug each other. Infection rates are very low in our counties. We have both been quarantined for weeks. It was a calculated risk, but the calculation seemed clear.

Take precautions, but hold each other. Lean in to each other’s arms. Say aloud, the emotion muffled in each other’s shoulders, how much you love each other, how much you’ve missed each other, how good it feels.

Wish you could stay there, clutching her tight on that dusty road in the middle of nowhere, forever.

I do not know what is coming. None of us does. I just know I need my people. I need to touch them, to look in their eyes, to say aloud over and over, I love you, I love you, I love you.

I cannot live in a world where that is not possible, but I will take possible occasionally, with precautions. I will take small sips, spread out judiciously, so that I never forget the feel of water on my tongue.”

— Asha S.


Return to ‘Reflections on Resilience’ for more…