A Brokenhearted Supermarket by Hannah Goff
As we pull up to our local Stop & Shop, I see a vacant parking lot, with 3 to 4 cars, at most. Cautious of our surroundings, we proceed to the entrance. The automatic doors open wide, and a mysterious, eerie breeze hits my face ever so lightly. I stop and stare at the barren shelves and the evident paranoia on every customer’s face. I mumble to my mom, “This looks like a scene from a movie!” She sarcastically replies, “So it may be.” A once familiar, family-friendly place had transformed in front of my disoriented eyes. At a quicker than usual pace, we make our way over to the dairy section, stocking up on milk, cheese, and butter before it runs out again. My younger brother reluctantly stretches his skinny arm to the back of the fridge, grabbing the last few cartons of 2% milk.
As we complete our “in preparation of a town lockdown” shopping spree and near the self-checkout line, I notice that all toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and soap have gone extinct. It is my first, and hopefully, last, pandemic to live through, so the arrogant behavior of others seems reasonable. I could not help but laugh at how quickly toilet paper became symbolic of the coronavirus crisis. I begin to help my mom bag our groceries when I see an elder in the check-out line next to ours within the range of my peripheral vision. The worried man was wearing a tight medical-blue face mask over his nose and mouth. Even though it may have been a cautious procedure, I got sudden butterflies, a haunted fluttery sort of feeling that swept through my stomach. We exit the supermarket, walking six feet behind the person in front of us, looking down at the shiny tiles, wishing that life would return to sanity.
A Reimagined Pandemic
Imagine the world before it became a prisoner of COVID-19
Focus on the simple things in life
Stopping to pet a cute dog walking by
Making a reservation at your favorite restaurant
Hearing the last bell on a Friday
Scoring a perfect parking spot, after methodically looking for reverse lights in a crowded
mall parking lot
Rather than frown upon their absence
Generate new predictability
Embrace your mother’s home-cooked meals
Scheduled zoom calls with your classmates and teachers
Simply sunshine and fresh air
Although the death toll is on a steady rise
We must bring our attention to the latest, feel-good Google trends
What hospitals are in desperate need of medical donations?
What local food banks are accepting donations?
How can I foster a pet?
How to start a relief fund?
While we all may stand six feet apart from one another
With masks covering our nose and mouth
And gloves that prohibit a handshake
American author Lucy Larcom suggests
“If the world’s a veil of tears, smile till rainbow spans it”
Remember that our world has faced devastating tragedies before
But if we show that we care
(Maybe even by saying a prayer)
We can heal the world
As done before
— Hannah Goff
A Fantasy Turned Reality
We are followers
Followers of aged rules
Most of us, followers of social media accounts
And short-lived trends
Individuals to whom we look up to and are required to see Monday-Fridays
We wish not to see
We are never satisfied with normality
Whether it’s an unusual news story
Or a simple fire drill
The reality of the pandemic hits
And do we really get what we want?
Convenience, flexibility, change
Does it outweigh the loss of traveling, concerts, and sporting events?
We seek forgiveness for our foolish craving
As we watch the death toll steadily rise
And read about the struggling, bustling hospitals
We remind ourselves that we are alone together
To stay positive, calm, and connected
And that staying home saves lives as more cases start to arise
Here’s to the new normal
Where takeout is the new Sunday night dinner
And Zoom is the new FaceTime
— Hannah Goff