An Open Letter to the Past
Dear pre-COVID life,
Hello! You know I’ll always start with how much I miss you. That’ll never change or go away. But right now there’s something far bigger and sadder on my mind, and I know you’d understand because you always did.
A year ago today our world changed. Though we didn’t know how much then, we do now. A year ago today, I was at my last real day of high school. I was a foolish girl wearing her gray soccer quarter-zip and black leggings. She thought life was hard then. She thought turning in her homework on time, getting to musical practice in time, or an insignificant coffee cup in her locker was her biggest problem. Well, that went out the window just as quickly as the cup went into the trash.
The cup, as well as what we thought life to be, wouldn’t be seen again for a long long time. We look at the pictures and videos we have of that day: Wishing we savored it. Wishing we didn’t wish it all away.
How we wished for days off. Two weeks of a break from everything didn’t seem bad at all did it?
But two weeks extended, and change followed: Competitions, cancelled. Games, postponed. The musical that never was. The hopes we had to get things back on track worked just as well as an unplugged lamp. Without it’s light everything got darker and dimmer by the day, as did we.
Our classes aren’t the only things that changed after that day. We did too. After over 200 days in and out of quarantines were we able to reenter the building that many of us knew as home. But it was emptier, reflecting how it all felt. Students sat in classes that were left bare. And there were no words to be said.
We learned to sit in silence during those 200 or so days. It wasn’t so terrifying anymore. It was something that came with the new normal. We use hand sanitizer; we wipe our hands of the past. We put on the masks; we hide our words. We use Clorox wipes to get rid of what had been. Though we wipe it off or cover it up, it does not change the fact that it used to be there.
Change is inevitable, though sometimes not for the better. But what can we do to stop it? Young people did what we were told. We spent hours doing schoolwork that was meant to be in a classroom. We were doing most schoolwork in our beds. We were lost. We complete the work to pass the grade, to pass the time. Was that enough? Once school ended, nothing changed except our minds could now wander.
Video games, baking, learning to sew, reading, drawing, and spending countless hours on social media. It may not sound like fun but it’s all we had. Every day an endless cycle of the same thing, at the same time, in the same place, during the same Pandemic.
No big deal right? At the time it was just another day. Now it’s a date that won’t be forgotten. While pushing through the depths of 2020, not many of us thought about the day where it all stopped. All we could do was muster up the hope that it would end soon. And that hasn’t changed to this day.
Today we get reminders of memories on Facebook and flashbacks from Snapchat. We see who we were. And how it was. A year ago today if you were seen with a mask on in a story you looked strange. Look where we are now…if your glasses aren’t fogged up, that is.
We’ve changed now. Living through a Global Pandemic, this date for me will forever be a reminder of how easily life can change, as well as the difference between normality and reality.
And now we wait, hoping the normal that is now normal won’t be our normal’s normal.
Soon we’ll catch on.