To depress the heart, to squeeze a soul

It was one year ago that I was on campus, tending to my own school-business, doing landscaping whenever I was called and I was living the lesbian life with my close friends. Despite COVID-19 scarringly scaring the whole world, I silently had prayed that COVID-19 would be quelled and scrubbed away by a few months max. But it was the ides of March when I was in math class, we were supposed to demonstrate another Euclid prop but everyone was freaking out. While I was consoling with words like "we will all make it out fine" and all, my head was spinning around like a carousel. The carousel of headaches, fears, anxiety and sorrowful eyes spinning all around me, yet I consoled them because their pains always stung more than mines. Though I was not them, I felt how their hearts where trembling; though we were all quaking, some of us took the toil to console the weeping souls amongst us. The dark cloud of dread loomed over us, suffocating our minds, plaguing our hearts and blinding our foresight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, the math teacher came in bearing a wailing student on her shoulders. We all took our assigned seats and our math teacher quietly stated that we wouldn't be having class today: all at once her words relieved but depressed us. After a few unbearable moments, our teacher continued: "Students, I do say this with a heavy heart, the rest of the in-person semester is cancelled. Due to COVID-19 entering the USA and being transmitted in every major state, the governor [Michelle Lujan Grisham] has lock-downed the entire state. The administration has decided to hand out boxes and packaging tape in the following days, so administration advises everyone to prepare to get out of campus grounds asap..." My acquaintances around me exploded in tears when our teacher spelled out the worst scenario we were all mummering about. I let their heads fall on my shoulders and I could only hug them while whispering reassurances that we shall make alive and well. Our teacher spoke again after a long pause: "There is some good news: us teachers are preparing now to help out in storing your packaged boxes. We understand that not many students have the funds to rent a storage, less in having a car to drive to a storage. If that's anything assuring, then I hope those words can ease your trembling hearts. With no more official words to pass down, class is officially dismissed... for today." My teacher and us four other students sticked around to console the destroyed souls; one by one the majority of the students left. Then it was just the five of us, consoling each other assured that no other eye nor ear would bear witness to our depressed hearts and shattered minds. Then two students left because of scheduling, so it was us three students remaining talking about the recent events that transpired. We all had our predictions on how long it'll last and how everyone will contribute to "sitting-put" so as to quickly end the accursed pandemic here in the USA. Yet I was there ruminating – more than a year ago – fully expecting the worse scenario with all the reports about over-burdened hospitals, anti-quarantine "protests", with the amount of people dropping like flies and, no less, how the world around us was fairing horribly like us. However, I tried to console them with my teacher and telling them that we might overcome it soon if we lock-downed everything; I, however, knew that was never gonna happen nationwide. And with me and the teacher left, we simply walked out and she offered to store my stuff in her attic which I accepted immediately; after a short talk and the last of many goodbyes, we said our goodbyes as we departed for the day. Despite sounding like a cliche, the grey clouds were really blotting out the lovely blue skies who were wanting to break through and embrace us. The sun tried slicing our fog of dread, but its light could do us no justice in our misery. And here was ole me, slowly treading as the wind gently blew on my skirt. My tired body could handle it no more, and so I crashed onto the nearest bench; unto it did I sang sorrows and weeped wearily, its cold unmovingness bearing my emotionally-battered body. As my head rested on that wooden bench, I saw many hustlers hustling to and fro their rooms trying to escape this city at all costs. Then in my blurry view did I see something trod towards me, I wiped my tears to get a better look at who was coming. Finally, my shining light came to me. Chester the golden-retriever came to lick my stained face and rest her head near mines. Despite the language-barrier, we communicated through our movements alone. Regardless of how much I tried shooing her, she persisted to wait out my grief. With her gentle tug, she slowly relit my soul and lead me from my wallows. Reminding me that we must be there for others as they shall be for us. Further reminding me that there was always another day.

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