Life on the inside

As a soon to be 2020 graduate, the idea that no one knows when I’ll be cleared to return to school blows my mind. It’s crazy to think that only three weeks ago, we were all living carefree, healthy lives with our classmates, and enjoying public education as we once knew it. Mansfield’s first-ever Spring Break extension, due to the COVID-19 outbreak has affected us all in unique ways. And now, we’re homebound, afraid of the air we breathe, and the people we share our lives with.

Just weeks ago, we all assumed that the people who wore surgical masks and latex gloves throughout their day to day lives were overly cautious of a virus completely exaggerated by the media. That was, however, when cases were hours away, but now, there are plenty within a few miles distance. Now, it’s completely normal to take these precautions- many would even encourage it. Common misconceptions have also been debunked, like ideas that African Americans were safe from the disease, and if caught, Millenials were secure from fatality. Yet days ago, a 21-year-old lost her life because of it, and Idris Elba has openly shared his experience as a black man who is currently suffering.

I’m 18 years young, and there’s nothing to do- nothing to experience or explore. Everything’s been shut down in a matter of days, and it feels as though the only thing I have left is work. As an employee at a local drugstore, I’ve continued to socially interact with those in need of help and supplies, as everyone else limits their public interactions and practices social distance. I have hand to hand contact with hundreds of people a day, selling them hand sanitizer and toilet tissue among many other household essentials we’ve taken for granted. It scares me to go to work and risk my health for the public good, but it gratifies me to feel needed, and do what I can to serve my community each day.

I live with my mother, and life on the inside has significantly changed. I’m spending a lot more time with her, and our relationship has strengthened because of it, but it scares her every day when I go to work and come home. What if I contract something? What if I bring it home to her? I’m the only one in the family who still has to report to work every day, as my mother and sister are teachers, and my brother in law works for the airlines. My family means the world to me, and I question how much longer I can continue to go to work through this time of national crisis before I, a colleague, or someone I love is affected. As scary as it feels to admit, the Coronavirus is a fatal disease, currently sweeping the planet with no cure.

How long should we have to suffer- or wonder who’s next?

How long do we sit with our questions unanswered?

It’s only day three of the lockdown, and I’m already losing my mind! Besides work, my life has simplified- I clean my room, my bathroom, the dishes, and repeat. I thought that scrubbing the baseboards or rearranging my furniture would electrify my day at least a little bit. But, after all, life restricted in between four walls is no life for a teenager. It’s unfortunate, but I get why the government has ordered us all to shield ourselves from the rest of the population. I just hope we graduate soon, and a cure is found.