“Hemmed in like a boar between arche(r)s”

Admittedly I should have checked Schoology last night so I could have started this journal earlier, but I feel like without the structure I’m used to my brain’s sort of forgot what I need to do in regards to school. Either way, I’ll start out today’s entry talking about yesterday, although the details will be blurry because of my awful memory. 

Yesterday, I woke up on the couch to my cat, Steinway, stepping off of my chest and just barely missing my face as he ran to chase my sister’s cat, Ghost. Ghost was, as usual, sprinting around the house in a way that would make you question the fact that he’s nearing 12 years old. Naturally, I grabbed my phone to check the time and to make sure no one died while I was asleep (In retrospect, although this is the way I usually joke, sort of morbid and dark, it’s uncomfortably topical with everything that’s been going on). It was around 0950 (maybe 0945, I can’t really remember). My brain goes into hyperdrive and I rush to grab my sister’s laptop and log into Zoom while simultaneously putting leftover pasta into the microwave for breakfast before my AP biology Zoom meeting starts. I’m able to sit down with my pasta and laptop with time to spare to respond to some messages from my boyfriend and AP biology group chat. This is the first time I’ve been faced with the reality of my situation. Two weeks of school closure means two more weeks without structure, two more weeks I won’t be able to see the people who hold me together, and two more weeks of me learning to manage school without school there to manage me. The break’s only just begun and I can already feel the madness and anxiety seeping into the updates my teachers leave on Schoology, the messages from my classmates and friends, my household, even me. I’m able to snap out of my existential crisis to listen to Ms. Richard and Ms. Wilson talk about Hardy-Weinberg for two hours. Once I’m able to exit the call, my brain is able to go back into “weekend” mode and I can pretend things are normal for the time being. I shower quickly, as I forgot the night before, and work on my homework until 1500. Come 1530, I’m opening the door to my boyfriend and we set out on a walk around my neighborhood. I’m surprised my parents let me go out at all, I asked over and over to make sure that they’re sure but I think they worry about what would happen to me if I’m forced to stay within our 1500ish square foot house. Concerns aside, we end up in the small park about half a mile from my house. There’s at least 5 SUVs parked in the parking lot, but the park is completely deserted save for a woman and her (adorable) dog. It’d be a scary sight if I wasn’t trying to distract myself, and the empty park means fewer people and gross (sorry) kids to worry about running around. We throw a few flannels onto the grass and lay down. Weird as it is to say, it’s nice to have small problems crop up throughout the day, they make it feel more real. Little things, like his mom changing when she wants to pick him up and the workers at Popeyes forgetting to give us honey for the biscuits. I could have done without the bigger things though… (like my parents unexpectedly meeting my boyfriend for the first time). By 1930 we’re back at my house and by 2130 his mom picks him up and I’m forced back into my “normal” life. Note the quotation marks. 

This morning I woke up on the couch around 0950 again, minus the cat and the Zoom meeting. I had a strange dream about basic leadership training (a three-day-long NJROTC “mini boot camp” that happens over spring break). My dream was (very loosely) set in Camp Pendleton, minus the barracks and galley and basically everything I interacted with at BLT last year. It was kind of a bittersweet dream, though, because BLT was canceled this year. I was really looking forward to going again and seeing all of the people I met last year, especially with my ten new ribbons, four new medals, and two promotions. I was looking forward to a lot of things that have been canceled because of the virus: the orienteering competition, PT practice, BLT, AMI, maybe even my birthday depending on how things go. It feels selfish to be worried about my birthday, especially considering I live in a house with two high-risk people (my 61-year-old father and 57-year-old mother with diabetes). I’m really not sure how I’m supposed to feel.

I heard my mom talking to my brother this morning. My brother’s work doubled his PTO and sent him home today. My mom, on the other hand, is only allowed to work from home one day a week, and she has to use her PTO even if she’s working. It’s striking to me, the difference between these situations. My brother is 23 and works at Home Depot, where he’s been for about two years. My mother started working at her job not long after she moved to California in 1991. It’s things like this that really put me in my place as a clueless high school student. I realize how different their jobs and positions are, but I can’t help but worry about my mother over my brother. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll be able to understand everything that’s been going on until it’s over. It’s only our third day off but I miss my friends, my boyfriend, my unit, my teachers, even just having people around. I miss the structure. Something about school being canceled makes this time away feel so much more significant. Winter break paled in comparison. I was only meant to be writing for 20 minutes but it’s been more than an hour. The first journal entry is always the longest though, I just needed to build a foundation I guess. Google Docs, I’ll see you tomorrow (probably for another hour knowing me).

I figured I’d just make my own playlist … on Spotify)

Song of the day: Lava Lamp – Cuco 

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