You have probably just finished taking your finals and are now packing up your things, making sure nothing is left behind – although you did forget your socks and had to turn around, don’t forget those this time. As you sit in the passenger seat of the car and stare out at the beautiful view from the Newport Bridge, summer is on your mind.
You are no doubt looking forward to seeing your friends back home especially Ari, Lauren, and Lona. Watching shows with them on Lauren’s couch, making tea together and boiling water in her giraffe shaped tea kettle, playing Kingdom Hearts on Ari’s PlayStation 3. Be sure to spend as much time with them as you can because you’ll find out over winter break that Ari has to move to Florida and even if all of them were still here, quarantine would prevent you from hanging out together.
You must be excited to visit Quentin, too, especially since the week you’re visiting him is his birthday. Arms envelop him in the biggest hug when you get off the train and see him waiting there at the station. That week will be wonderful even if he does keep crushing you at Magic the Gathering with his She Yun deck. You’ll end up retaliating with your Wasitora deck over winter break, a deck he’ll help you build and one neither of you expected to turn out as good as it did.
You’re also probably looking forward to the two big vacations you’ve planned for. First is the family one and second is the one with your online writing group. Try to enjoy yourself more on the trip to Block Island. I know you don’t have the best relationship with Mom and Dad, but please don’t let that prevent you from having fun with your sisters and going on walks with them to the beach, the gelato shop, or the tiny movie theater playing only one movie, Spider-Man Far From Home. Cherish the time you have with your friends from the writing group also. This is the only time a year you’ll get to hang out with everyone in person and you might not even get to this summer if things continue how they have been due to the virus.
Lastly, I know you’re looking forward to the events in the online writing group. You’ve worked hard on it with Quentin, Kyle, Joe, Dia, Alex, and Bips. It might surprise you to learn that you’ve left that place as has everyone except for Kyle. However, you’re still close with all of them and everyone else who has been there since the start, and you’ve begun doing weekly online sessions of DnD with Quentin, Dia, Alex, and Kyle which has given you something to look forward to in these times.
You’re probably wondering what I mean by these times and what this quarantine and virus I alluded to is. I assure you that everyone you care about is safe and, far as I’m aware, do not have the virus. At the very least, none of them are sick. However, we’re being forced (“strongly advised”) to stay inside our homes, having been sent back from campus to complete the semester online.
I advise you to bring all your things home. The school waited until the last minute to make the call and when they did, they said it would just be a couple weeks. That couple weeks has turned into the whole semester. Online classes aren’t too bad, and Webex thankfully makes it so that you can see everyone’s faces and hear their voices. However, I would much rather be in the classroom than sitting at home and having to mute every time my family decides to start a shouting match during my online class. It is more difficult focusing on my work at home, however. My room isn’t as neat as my side of the dorm on campus. I don’t have a desk where I can keep all my materials and work on my assignments. I really miss my room in Ochre Lodge and how it looked compared to my room back home.
I’ve missed Newport, Rhode Island also. It’s a really beautiful place and one that fueled me with inspiration for my writing. I also liked taking walks on the cliff walk which runs through our campus. Sandy Hook is nowhere near as beautiful as Newport is, and I can’t even go anywhere. I don’t like being trapped at home and while my relationship with my parents has improved somewhat, it’s still not the best. But I think most of all what I miss is Quentin and all my friends. I’m lucky that I got to see him before things got as bad as they did, but it’s hard being apart from him and not being able to spend time in person with anyone.
It’s kind of funny to me that these are what my concerns are. Based on what’s happening and how the virus has been described, I feel like we’re in a zombie apocalypse movie. But I’m not in constant danger of infection, starvation, and death. Even though I know people are dying from the disease and that there have been shortages in stores due to the panic, I don’t have that feeling of urgency and danger that I feel one should during a pandemic. When we must go grocery shopping and Dad makes my sisters and I wear bandanas over our mouths to cover them, I feel like we’re in some apocalypse movie. However, we simply buy the supplies we need instead of looting and raiding the store.
I’ll conclude this letter to you with saying that I never expected something like this to happen, but I also feel disconnected from it despite the fact it’s changed my whole life and schedule. Try to enjoy the time you have with the people around you and traveling to Block Island with your family, Maryland to visit Quentin, Washington D.C. with your writing group friends, and Lake Compounce with your sisters and friends because I don’t know what this summer will hold and what the state of the virus will be when it rolls around.
Your future self