What Now?

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What Now?

I take walks on the beach, and try to let the ocean breeze cleanse my bad thoughts. But the uncertainty is hard to overcome.

My parents own an auto body shop. When the governor said this was an essential service, they were very relieved. But when they leave for work in the morning, I fear for their lives.

I’ve taught myself how to sew. The other day I cut up old shirts, and turned them into face masks for my parents. That gives me peace of mind.

But the comfort of my room has grown suffocating. I’ve grown sick of these four white walls.

I have to remind myself that I am one of the lucky ones, since I am healthy, and my family and friends are healthy.

But the creeping threat of illness is everywhere. It’s all anyone talks about, in my island hometown of North Beach, NJ. On Long Beach Boulevard. On social media. On the news. We’re consumed.

I miss my friends. I wish I could see them. But I stay at home for the sake of my worried-sick mother.

I have become increasingly annoyed with the tourists who have relocated to our island. It’s bustling here. I wish they would go back to where they came from. With the appearance of each New York license plate, our island feels more unsafe. Our courageous paramedics are falling ill.

I take walks on the beach, and let the ocean breeze cleanse my bad thoughts.

My mother never turns off the news. At times, she believes every worst-case scenario. Sometimes her negative thinking bleeds into my own. But generally we do our best to stay optimistic. She is my rock.

My younger brother is 16. We argue a lot, but I’m getting to know him in ways that I would have missed had I stayed at school.

We watch television and play video games, all and every day. We go for drives. He keeps me from getting too caught up in my head.

My parents are thrilled that I am home. Spending time with them has been a blessing.

I’m determined to find a silver lining. I want to trust that I’ll come out of this a better person. But the uncertainty looms like a shadow.

I try to pay it no mind.

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