The Poetry Shed

A Space for Writers
Letter from the Future

Dear Lauren

Dear Self,

If this letter reaches you correctly in August 2019, you are probably busy with getting ready to work as a restaurant host at the Crowne Plaza. As you dress in that monochrome black uniform, you are instantly dreading the summer heat that overshadows your fifteen minute walk to your workplace. The biggest worries on your mind are the annoying customers that you’re about to encounter, who will ask to book hotel rooms even though that’s a responsibility for the front desk, become angry with you when a table isn’t available even if they didn’t book a reservation, or look at the menu becoming complaining about the high prices.

The last month of your summer consists of living out the excitement of turning twenty one years old and finally being able to join your friends for a night out at the bars. After studying abroad for the entirety of junior year, you will be eager to return to Salve Regina for your senior year to live in your own house, see friends and make new ones.

But your senior year won’t end as predicted. With spring break only days in reach, you’ll be dreaming of a time when your communications thesis is finally finished. In the middle of Global Media class, the university will send out an email about how this semester will be finished remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Before this moment, you did not take this outbreak very seriously after living through Swine Flu and Ebola. COVID-19 originated and will stay in China! If it spreads to Europe, the disease must be contained! There’s no need to become anxious and panic!

These worries are later validated when the shutdown of public places (such as movie theaters, restaurants, shopping malls, and nightclubs) begins. People are wearing face masks everywhere, when walking their dogs in the neighborhood, sitting on the beach and picking up food deliveries. It won’t be the same kinds of masks that you’ve seen in Singapore and the Philippines where those accessories were more of fashion statements.

Unlike your friends who thrive off being extroverts, you’ll actually enjoy staying at home to cook some old recipes, research fun topics online, and try out new makeup. These days shall be spent playing Dragon Age: Inquisition and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. You will discover
phenomenal movies like Grave of the Fireflies and Come and See that will evoke some of the strongest sentiments that you have ever felt from watching anything. This quarantine won’t be in complete isolation; Abbi and Kaitlyn will be around to keep you company.

In the moments of any kind of sadness, since you’ve lost your work-study job at the library and can’t enjoy any kind of retail therapy like in the pre-pandemic days, you choose to overcome these moods by reminding yourself of your privileges. You aren’t going to be homeless because you can still be able to pay rent and have more than food at home. Nobody in your life has
caught the virus. You aren’t facing any danger from working in a hospital.

But not all hope is lost! While the future may seem bleak and utterly hopeless, you can skip out on the anxiety of trying to find a job during or after the pandemic. Temple University accepted you as a graduate student for the fall semester of 2020!

Your Future Self