by Sasha Wong
“I ain’t a kid no more, We’ll never be those kids again” – Ivy by Frank Ocean
It is difficult to think of a time before quarantine. A time when the walls of my home looked less like the bars of a prison cell; when the sound of an innocent cough didn’t send pulses of terror through my veins. Back when I spent my free hours bouncing between my friends houses, always getting dressed up to solicit all the best restaurants Downtown San Diego has to offer. Though the overwhelming majority of my life has been spent living freely and unrestrained, it seems as though my entire existence is being defined by our global situation. For almost two months, I spent every day stuck inside my home, feeling suffocated as the walls of my house felt like they were closing in on me. Although I knew on a surface level that every American was fighting the same fight and experiencing this same reality, I felt alone in my journey. Every night before bed I would hope that the next day this whole thing would be over. Every morning I would wake up and have a few fleeting moments of bliss before I looked at my phone and was greeted with news of a rising death toll or record unemployment.
The day that school was cancelled, I remember experiencing an overwhelming feeling of impending doom. As I shuffled from class to class, every teacher scurried to hand out papers and struggled to prepare us for what our work would look like for the following three weeks. I remember believing that it would only last three weeks. We needed three weeks as a state and country to get ourselves straightened out before we could return to normal life. I still imagined my friends and I donning Mickey Mouse ears as we headed into Disneyland for Grad Nite and watching a slideshow of embarrassing baby pictures at my graduation party. I could see myself walking across the stage at graduation, looking into the crowd to see my family’s wide smiles as I moved on from high school.
As the days began to rapidly pass by and the three weeks wound to a close, it became very clear that my high school days were over. For four days straight, I cried all day long. As I did homework, I cried. As I ate, I cried. As I watched YouTube videos, I cried. There was not a moment during those four days where my eyes were completely dry. Every night, I would put on Ivy by Frank Ocean and let the tears flow. My tears were not really about the missed prom or graduation, but about my inability to fully close this chapter on my own terms. As Frank said, I would never be a kid again, and coping with that reality was overwhelming. Soon, I would be off to explore the real world on my own. The next time I would walk the halls of CHS, it would be as an alum. I would never get to have my heartfelt goodbyes with the teachers who helped shape me into the person I am, spend my last break in Mr. Aldworth’s room with all my friends, or even have a cafeteria cookie for the last time. I had spent my senior year refusing to accept the fact that I would soon have to be leaving the place which helped me become me. Suddenly, I was forced to come to terms with the fact that it was all coming to an end. Hence, the four days of tears.
Eventually, the tears stopped. Though a bit of sadness surrounding quarantine as a whole still persisted, the feeling of being robbed of my goodbyes and last moments began to fade away. Whether it was in March or in June, my high school days were eventually going to have to come to a close. Even if I was unable to hug my beloved teachers goodbye, nothing was stopping me from writing them heartfelt emails explaining how incredible they were and how much of a positive influence they were for me. When I eventually return to campus for a day trip, I will still be able to go and greet those teachers and staff members with a smiling face and fresh experiences. I once heard a fantastic quote from someone who I can no longer remember, “Just because the water is warm and wonderful does not mean you have to swim in it forever.” Though my high school years were full of incredible memories and experiences, the fact of the matter was that I eventually had to move on. Instead of spending my life feeling sad about what I missed or had to leave behind, I can focus on the future and what amazing experiences await me in college and beyond.