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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LUC chapter.

March 12, 2020 I woke up to my roommate causing a commotion way too early in the morning. While half listening to her phone conversation and half trying to fall back asleep, my morning brain fog began to fade. I faintly heard her mention going home and suddenly felt as if someone dumped ice water onto my head. I whipped my phone off the charger, opened up my email, and sure enough our university was closing because of COVID-19 and everyone needed to vacate.   

I had no desire to go home for several reasons, but as a needy, hopeless romantic, serial dater my heart sank to my feet as I thought about the relationship I had been forming over the past month. Of course my love life was my first order of business to sort out during the end of the world. Essentially, I saw two options for us: first we go home and part ways like everyone else, or second we find a way to stay in Chicago and make it work. Logically, I probably should’ve just left the city, but our smitten selves decided to wish on a star for a Corona fairytale. 

This fairytale turned into a tragic romance real fast. My version of the end of the world blended together into a period of skipping all of my online classes, neverending Netflix binges, and boxes on boxes of Whiteclaws. I didn’t have the energy to get off the couch, let alone walk across the street to see my “boyfriend” and pretend to be the happy bubbly girl he decided to stay in Chicago for. So, with one of my signature abrupt decisions, I packed up my things, broke it off, and went home for some much needed familial structure and support. Of course I did still hold onto a lingering hope that this love could come back to me.

As this relationship died and I returned home, I found myself thinking back to a moment around 2008 in the depths of the first recession of my lifetime. On this specific day I set out on one of my several snooping sessions in my mother’s craft room and found a love letter my father wrote my mother. Me being a sappy 9 year old that loved all movies with a prince charming, could not resist the temptation of reading said letter. This gooshy love letter revealed sweet nuances: their pet names for each other were Pookie and Cooka, they shared many hopes and dreams, one being saving to build a new home together, and a list of all the little things my father loved about my mother. This letter also explained the hardship they faced amidst the recession and going several months without receiving paychecks. Although they were both experiencing stress beyond my comprehension, and could easily let the relationship fall apart they really took “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer” to heart. My parents’ relationship stuck the idea in my head that even with the world collapsing I could still care enough to strengthen a relationship in the worst circumstances. But maybe I missed the point, and it wasn’t just true love that maintained their stability.

Now seven months since this Covid mess began and a recent fail at rekindling with my corona fairytale man, here I am: glass of wine in one hand, swiping on one of three dating apps with the other hand, Bachelorette season premiere streaming on the tv, my best friends on the couch next to me, and all of our hope for any real romantic relationship in the near future dwindling. We discuss how dry our dating apps are and make fun of the idea of meeting your soulmate on reality tv. But quite frankly, these are our options. 

Even with dwindling hope, my idealism creeps in and I find myself wondering if the masked cashier at the grocery store or my favorite take out places, or maybe the man I pass on my runs each morning is suddenly going to sweep me off my feet and pull me out of the pit of despair that is 2020. But after seven months of my idealism kicking me in the behind, I think I gained some rational reasoning skills. 

Sadly, we all might need to be our own knights in shining armor first. No one is going to drag me out of my lazy Whiteclaw and Netflix cave. So, I found a ladder and started climbing out myself. I’m climbing so someday I can hold someone’s hand on the outside of the cave so neither of us fall in. Because while most people can’t wait to love someone during adventures, trips, and celebrations, I can’t wait to love during the worst of times.

people exchanging a paper heart
Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

Lilli is a senior studying finance and Spanish at Loyola University Chicago. When not studying and spending time with friends, you can find her dancing, at the gym, or searching for the best cold brew in Chicago. In the future Lilli hopes to combine her passion for creativity and finance expertise to spend time traveling abroad.