Jenny sat outside between her brother and father. They both drank beer silently, running out of words to say to each other after the first day. There was a slight chill but the sun was still warm. It felt weird for all of this to happen when it was so nice out. It was the beginning of spring; the flowers were growing, and the birds were up every morning with the sun. Jenny didn’t understand how the Earth could still go on, how the grass could still grow without fear of being trimmed. Jenny thought everything would just pause; that even the sun would stay in place as humanity worked it all out.
The clouds began to pile against each other, and the one-minute chill moved faster against Jenny. Her brother and father had both gone inside and Jenny knew that when she entered the house the sensation of Deja vu would take over her. There was not much Jenny could do. She could learn a new instrument, practice a foreign language or figure out how to cook a proper meal but those would take time. Not just a day but weeks even months of consistent practice. Jenny didn’t want to admit that she would be stuck in her house for that long. So, to Jenny, no matter what the calendar said, today was a lazy carefree Sunday and tomorrow she would wake up for school. There had been a lot of Sundays.
Jenny stretched the dry skin of her right hand. She examined the lines and wondered what a psychic would see in them. She scrunched her skin back up and marveled at how easily the hand sanitizer had broken her flesh. Her knuckles looked old and tired like her Grandma’s. She hadn’t been able to see her Grandma in a while. She should call her Grandma. Jenny missed a lot; she knew that soon she would miss more. She missed licking the brownie mix from the spatula. She missed double-dipping. She missed a simple handshake. She missed school and the people she didn’t know but would see every day in the hallways.
Every night, Jenny would pray no matter how useless it had become. In her sleep, she wondered what the history textbooks would write about this year. She imagined paragraphs about the stock market, headers about the presidency and chapters about all the other countries struggling. There would be no mention of Jenny or her family. No mention of how the trees somehow still bloomed.
Jenny thought about the bored future history student. How he will be skimming the chapter about the virus and taking half-ass notes about it because he is only being graded on effort. He will not think about the people who sat inside alone while spring awoke right outside their windows. Jenny wanted to grab him from her dreams and spit on him. But she wouldn’t; she was practicing social distancing.
Livvy Krakower is a junior at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J.Air Zoom Vomero 14