I recently printed out dozens of photographs documenting my entire senior year. Taped up unevenly on my wall, they bear a certain intangible heaviness I didn’t expect them to. It is the weight, I think, of what’s missing: a graduation or prom or senior day or state championships picture.
I entered senior year well aware that it was to be a year filled with some things out of my control. I just didn’t realize it’d be everything.
Even still, I know I am lucky. I’m living in one of the most COVID-19 devastated areas in the United States, yet I am still physically and mentally well, home with the rest of my family. My dad is fortunate to have his job, my brother and I fortunate to have online education. The hardest part is still difficult to articulate. It is not that there is something to fight, but rather something that’s been lost. It is the promise of closure, a final conclusion I’d felt I was entitled to, whether that was a final debate round or a last day of classes.
Every minute, hour, day feels predictable and repetitive. Yet, once I begin thinking on the scale of weeks and months, it is not even close to that which I can predict. I wish I knew if my summer job was still happening—and if so, where and how. I wish I could find out if I’d still be attending college in the fall, and if I’d ever be able to walk across the stage in my graduation gown. In the meantime, I spend my days on my bed, half-paying attention to my Zoom classes. I’ve cut my own bangs out of the impulsive need to take control over the rhythm of my day (all it did was make me look like I was back in middle school). This strange juxtaposition of feeling bored yet uneasy, complacent yet desperate—it’s settled on my shoulders and bears that same intangible heaviness on me.
I keep hearing about how this world-stopping event will be left in our history books, and how exciting of a story it will be for our future generations. But I am tired of being part of history—I simply want to live.