• Bryant Vander Weerd

The First Day Back

As the sun shines on this Colorado Friday and we spend another week in quarantine my thoughts obviously drift to getting out and enjoying the weather. It's maddening to think we can't go enjoy lunch on a patio and only adds to my cabin fever.

I recently started writing for a website called and the team over there is putting together some excerpts from contributing writers on things they imagine doing once quarantine is lifted.

Here's mine!

As usual, there’s no parking in the tiny lot that accompanies the strip mall housing Ester’s and a few other small businesses off of Holly. I can’t help but dwell on that word… “usual”. The idea of usual has become such a foreign concept these past few months. It doesn’t take me long to realize how UN-usual it actually feels to have to deal with crowds and lack of parking again. It’s something that used to make me uncomfortable.

I welcome being this uncomfortable if it means we get to be around people again.

Finally settling for a street parking spot in the nearby neighborhood, my wife and I step out and hustle our newborn daughter out of the car seat. I’ve already got Fat Tire nachos on the brain and my wife has been talking about their pizzas for about the last week since we learned of the reopening.

We brush past another couple while walking through the doors and I accidentally bump into the guy’s shoulder. We lock eyes and exchange a quick apology. Not in an annoyed way. Actually felt like both of us were so glad to be this close to strangers again without wearing masks and being concerned with infection.

The din of loud restaurant conversation graces my ears for the first time in what feels like an eternity. I’d come here for takeout a few times during the quarantine but to see the chairs turned back over and full of people was a sight to behold.

How long is the wait? 45 minutes?

Again, something that usually would annoy me. But just being outside again felt freeing. I’m not giving up on this place. I’m willing to wait.

My eyes drift inevitably to the large array of tap handles on the far end of the bar. I feel like a kid in a candy store, ready to try every single one of them.

Everyone around me looks happy. So many groups of friends sitting in large tables. So many smiles, laughing, and glasses clinking. In a way, we all feel like friends in this moment.

The sun is shining, the beer is cold, and the quarantine is over.

Photos Courtesy of Ester's Denver Instagram

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