The Space Between Us
Bloomberg Businessweek|February 15 - 22, 2021
Pandemic life has spelled out the limits—and a few joys—of spending time together.
Brin-Jonathan Butler

We had our first date on a frigid Feb. 13 a year ago. It was at a little Spanish restaurant near my place in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan, 17 days before Governor Andrew Cuomo held a news conference announcing the first case of Covid-19 in New York. By the end of March the state would lose more than 1,000 lives and become the epicenter of a global health crisis.

She drove in from a town in Connecticut that I’d never heard of before. After she arrived and sat down, she told me as an icebreaker that her most serious boyfriend had dumped her on Valentine’s Day. She teased that the holiday was canceled as far as she was concerned. I told her an old story about how my father, fresh out of law school, was almost disbarred for taking out an ad in a newspaper on Feb. 14, 1983, with the headline “Happy Valentine’s Day! Uncontested divorces $300.”

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