We thought our tandem dough-mixing game was strong, but Covid stretched us until we were riddled with holes. Even after using our patch dough, Covid laughed in our faces and stretched us more. Boyfriend and I switched from seamlessly baking bread together every other night to forty miles of social distance and no oven light. We endured three weeks of comparative silence and celibacy while Boyfriend worked alone on his telekinesis. It was emotionally hard for me, but it was harder for him in every way. Since my schedule was flexible, and I love kids, we thought we’d give the opposite baking method a try; Boyfriend brought me up north to live with him and his family for two weeks where I provided childcare, worked remotely, and tried to bake bread with him during our scraps of available time.
The thing to remember about baking relationships is that we all come to the table with five core Gary-Chapman-rolled ingredients; flour (language), salt (service), yeast (gifts), water (touch), and (quality/alone) time. We hope that our respective ingredient amounts are complementary and that together we can execute a recipe to completion. But what can you do when a person’s ingredients aren’t the same as they were pre-Covid?
Covid came, Covid saw, and Covid kicked my ass. I’ll be spending the next few weeks in my kitchen testing the limits of my pantry. I’m going to burn and overwork my bread in true novice form. And, I’m finding the best way for a relationship to survive this breaded apocalypse is to bring what I bake to the table every day, even when it’s under-proved. To remember the privilege of being able to bake for someone at all. To dream about how, when Covid lifts, I can take my time baking fan-tasty bread with the boyfriend. And to realize that, in order to do any of this, I’ve got to get good at baking love on my own first.
In 2011, Brennon Ham (pronouns: Brennon/they/she/he) snagged a BA in English from CWRU. Brennon now lives in Seattle, working as the Health Education Specialist/Trainer for Seattle Public Schools and as the head coach for a local swim team. Brennon heads to the Harvard Graduate School of Education in August for an MA in Education Policy and Management.