Quarantine Log – May 24, 2021 – Abby Houghton
May 25, 2021
May 24, 2021 – Abby Houghton
“So, what did you learn in school today?” Grandpa asked, taking his eyes off the road for a second to glance over at the passenger seat and flash me a smile.
“Umm..” I racked my brain, trying to remember what I had done in class, “in science, we-” I started, getting cut off by the sound of Grandpa’s phone ringing. My eyes flickered to the dashboard where Grandpa was touching the pick-up button. Mom? Why was Mom calling? I wondered, heart dropping; were Lucy and Dad okay?
“Where are you guys? Did you get to swim yet?” Mom asked in a tone that made my heart drop to the lowest pits of my stomach. My heart started racing, contemplating all of the terrible things that could have happened.
“No-” Grandpa started, as I cut him off.
“Is everything okay?” Butterflies erupted in my stomach, gnawing away at my sides, just as worry was gnawing at me for every millisecond mom took to respond.
“Did you pass my office yet?” she asked with no regard for my question.
“No.” Grandpa repeated in a voice that told me he was worried too- strengthening my already strong and present worry.
“MOM, what happened!?” I said, desperately trying to keep my breathing steady.
With words saturated in pity, Mom sighed and told me, “honey… you’ve been quarantined.” Involuntarily, I let go of a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding; my family was okay. “That means you can’t go to swim practice today, can you come to my office insead?” Grandpa responded to Mom, letting her know that we were changing route immediately, but I heard none of what he said. My brain was registering what had just happened. I was quarantined. QUARANTINED. Instantly, my logic oriented brain began to make lists: the pros of being quarnited, the cons, and what I was glad I got done before I was quarantined.
Okay, okay, okay. At least you turned in your history project and finished the French test out. I thought, trying to stop my heart from pounding and trying to make sure I was taking in air. My chest hammered, sending sharp pains through my body. I felt as if I was in outer space and my oxygen had just been cut off. And in a way, I was. For the next two weeks, the only people I could see would be my mom, dad, and little sister. No friends, no human connection, no school. NO, no, no, this can’t be happening!! I screamed in my head, as the thought of total isolation encompassed me. Alone, alone, alone, alone! The words echoed in my head, forcing me to tears.
“Well, on the plus side…” Grandpa said, trying to start up a conversation to stop tears from rolling down my face.
As much as the total isolation scared me, the thought that I may have COVID-19 and if I did, there was a chance I had given it to my grandparents. Despite the fact that they both were fully vaccinated, I couldn’t stand the thought that I could have done anything to harm them in any way.
Focus Abby, focus! I slid my phone out of my bag, noticing that Mom had tried to call me right before she called Grandpa, and opened my messanges. Texting “just got quarantined” to the largest group chat, I copied and pasted the message to friends that weren’t on the chat. Text like, “omg, so sorry” “that sucks” “when can you come back?” and “another round ugh!” flooded my phone; texts that I had sent when other friends had gotten quarantined now seemed meaningless and not extreme enough. “You must be so sad!” one of my closest friends texted. “So sad”?? More like so crushed or absolutely devastated!
We pulled up to my mom’s office and after a quick goodbye to Grandpa, I hopped in my mom’s car, where I was informed that I would be able to come back on June 4th. Glancing at my phone, I saw another friend had been quarantined and in that moment I selfishly was thankful that I wouldn’t be alone- that I wasn’t the only person who’s world was totally changing. No! Don’t think that! I reminded myself, shaking off such a selfish thought. The car ride home was silent as I wallowed in sorrow and Mom attempted to think of something to make me feel better.
I’m ashamed to admit that upon getting home, I bolted up to my room, and began punching pillows as the events that I would miss echoed around in my head. At the sound of my phone ringing, I snapped out of it, and pulled myself together enough to FaceTime my friend.
For the rest of the night, I was in my own world- which would be great practice for the next two weeks. As I drifted off to sleep that night, I tried to relax, there was nothing I could do at that point in time besides hope for a false positive. Although it was even hard to do that – my hope for a good week was gone and it wasn’t coming back for a while.