In the beginning, I was scared. At the beginning of spring break, I had every intention of coming back to school, resuming life on campus, watching the flowers bloom as I do every spring. But not this year. This year there was no coming back, no resuming anything, but the flowers still bloomed even if I wasn't there to bear witness to them.
I was scared. Scared to go out at night for fear of being caught on the wrong side of a roadblock, I lived in a small rural town and I didn't know if or where those might be. I was scared because the world around me was changing rapidly and I feared that those around me may struggle to find a place in the new one.
I remember sitting in the front seat of my car looking in the rearview mirror at my ten-year-old niece who's life will be forever changed by the events of this year. When you have children in your life, you want them to experience the same joy you felt at their age. You want to know that they feel the same happiness and excitement that colored your childhood. All I can think is if I'm scared how must she feel. She is so small and all around her people’s faces are being hidden by masks, we are telling her to stay close and not to touch anything.
When I was a child my mother warned me not to touch anything as we passed displays filled with glass trinkets, I learned to stick my hands in my pockets as to not accidentally break anything and I still do just in case.
We played outside, made flower crowns, came up with games like Circus where my two nieces were respectively a lion tamer, and the lion jumping throw hula hoops as I played a track of circus music from my phone. I tried to help them forget how scary the world outside was, while me and my grandmother discussed the death tolls in hushed voices.
Now we try to adjust the best we can. I think I’ve come to terms with this new status quo. I try not to think about the infection rate as me and my nieces go back to school. It’s easier this way. Even in writing this I know, it sounds sad, but maybe that’s what we get right now. Just a little sad.