A door flung through space, its hinges thudding as it bounces in places. I sprawled my legs and head further, peeking up from my massive claimed space. My suitemate held a fury I had never seen. His voice cried not salted tears, but fiery unjustifiable anger. We had carved from our long gone roommates a paradise, in quarantined mazes of empty halls. Our resettling, truly glamorous, our rooms more us than our homes. The corona pandemic we understood. All four of us, in jokes and quips. “Till they kicked us out… ” “Over my dead body… ” His anger took the space, more than my own. I could only watch, his groans and yells befell our happy now hell. They gave an ultimatum. And I think they work. We had to leave the dorms by April 13. And then we did.
I didn’t pack. Not the day of, nor the day before. Swaddled in lethargy, I leaned further into the depths of my chair. The COVID-19 problem. A disease so impossibly effective. I am under almost no risk. Maybe a bad day or two. At worst a week. And so tumbling backwards in unresolved sadness, those most at threat… my family. My mother, well over 50, the family all into their years. It was a selfless feeling. And despite that, uncomfortable in altruism, a rebellious isolation. Three trips and my stuff now settled in the rented car, began the fifteen hour drive to Austin. The desert was as empty as the roads. My suitemate’s loathing anger spread its feathery wings, and settled acrest my head. Forced from comfort, I voluntarily threatened my family's life, on the undetectable chance I had Corona. Why, why could I do nothing but comply? Was it for the $1500 back? Would I even get the relief $1200? Would I get anything back? My classes were already shambling. The teachers transitioned like it was their job. While a jobless parent, and an unemployed America take me down the dust bitten roads.
My lethargy was the only thing I carried, because my luggage rode in white and black plastic trash bags, soaked in two spritzes of bleach. Their red tags like a bad sale, one on forlorn seas like an odyssey returning home. And so my queried mind stumbles. America, the powerhouse of the 21st century. The leader of our age, mocking itself in the media, as New York reaches complete shutdown. My brother stuck on the east coast, hoping for reimbursement from the moving company he works for. Just to pay another month of rent, for the home he can’t live in. My sister, like many others, planless. Despite our massive economy, and endless power, we are powerless to prevent the COVID-19 spreading danger. She planned to check New York, but now she can only see genius in her popcorn ceiling. My other sister is working less, as a member of the event service. America has lost its events. They move online, sure, but like classes it can only go so far. Both parties require equal engagement, to a screen, of bits and bytes. The work by a thousand behind-the-scene toilers, that smile knowing what they do is unseen but appreciated, is impossible. No gigs, no birthday parties. America has lost its party.
And sure, people take to the streets. A protest, almost ironically historical. A sign, almost historically ironic, claims “Social distancing = communism.” They stand as if the people require a self-started-fire-fighter. As if we are wronged by hiding in our hobbit holes. Wholly ignorant, or purposefully bliss to the media they gather. Swaggering like a martyr, the rich agree that we can all make it through these “unprecedented times”. Like America in these un-presidented times. When can we call the shot? Who killed Franz Ferdinand? Do we turn the dial on our hate for China? All the way to 11? Do we blame the unclosed stores? The necessary jobs? The hapless helpless workers? As corporations cut them off like skin tags for their losses? We can’t choose. I can’t choose. We shall not choose. For no reason, more so than this is America. We do not pin the tail of hate, not again. The donkey is the ass we made of ourselves, and the prick will hurt worse than our crippling depression. So many of us do the thing: right or wrong. We buckle up as times continue, change, and overcome. America is not the next problem we make for ourselves. But the infrastructure and history to never mistake what makes this country worth fighting for. Something we fight for everyday, every dollar we spend, and every life we save--by staying in doors.
I am more shut in now than ever. A change I am never surprised enough by. And so we are isolated, smiling at the idiots, those that oppose science, those that threaten us all. We smile, because in our new and old cubbies of life, it's all America can do. While other nations mobilize protection, we horde who knows what, we profiteer on paranoia, of what might happen, and again who to blame. The government and the people make a nation. One nation indivisible, or so the anthem says. I hold fast to the reality before me. The COVID-19 has impacted my life, but not as hard as others. Not as fierce, or deadly. As horribly or cruelly, and yet in isolation I question why we need a criminal for the crime of dis-ease.