The news flooded in. First, it was a text message that leaked the gist of the email which was supposed to arrive that very evening: remote learning for the remnant of the semester. It was within expectation, but actually hearing the verdict is another thing. Then it was another email from Mrs. Abijay. Then more emails following the news.
“A Graduation Message and Update from Mr. Eklund”
“Senior-Year End Details”
I squinted my eyes as if trying to see what it was like, the last day of school, which I had no idea was the hasty conclusion of my senior year. No formal goodbyes, no hugs or kisses (probably good for the sake of all), no time for sentimentality. Mostly everyone just thought it a brief pause from all the madness and the pressure from surreal daily headlines, and we would still return and resume everything just as normal. Until the most recent community update told us otherwise. Then my mind drifted even further back, to the first day of my senior year, the cheesy yet uncontrollable goosebumps provoked by that “Seniors, you’re dismissed.” But right now, although it’s not over, it does feel like it’s over.
I did stupid things to remedy for this strange loss, for example, calling my friends to make sure that no friendship has been accidentally killed by this virus and getting mad at Yuval Harari, the author of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. He wrote in this book that we humans in the 21st century have already conquered most of the persisting dilemmas that plagued us for as long as civilizations existed, including war, famine, pandemic…and we are safe and content to move on to our new topics, like happiness, or technical immortality. I thought it was perfectly sensible until I’ve witnessed some of the ugliest complications that broke out along with this virus in our world. No, perhaps we thought too highly of ourselves. We didn’t make that much progress after all, because at this moment, as a living human in the 21st century, what I’m seeing is that we’re still easily routed by a virus size of 0.1 microns in a matter of months. Lives are lost in indifferent, unencumbered numbers on a daily basis. Perhaps right here the virus simply means quarantine for us. But somewhere else in the world, quarantine is a privilege. It means you have a home of your own; it means you have soap and clean water to wash your hands; it means you can afford not working with other people for a while. Every time my thoughts go thus far, I could not bring myself to any possible complaint about this situation. All I’ve got are powerless regrets. Regrets for this unforeseen end of my senior year, for the decision to thank heartily those teachers who wrote my recommendation letters for college altogether at the end of the school year (now they must think me ungrateful and heartless), for the four months of summer ahead, the most free and meaningful one which I had always waited for, for the possibility of becoming a heavy Zoom user on the very first semester of my college life…Ok, however immature and futile it may sound, I hate this virus. I know hatred wouldn’t help to kill it, and we’re all responsible for spreading positivity no matter how difficult it may be amidst the grim reality. I always knew the number 2020 was up to something, that we’re not graduating without something special. Now here it is, a drive-through graduation. You don’t get many of those.
Well, right now I need to go fill out that form for Senior Celebration. Gotta make it worthwhile.
Photo Credit: Jiaqi Yin