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Waverly Tatum: Me Against the World (Covid Fiction)

I was that loner kid who read comics when everyone else was playing, listened to the B-sides and watched old movies ... Now I write about it

Strack And Van Til  Munster, Indiana

Strack And Van Til Munster, Indiana

Of Whom (or what) shall I fear?

7am, Saturday, March 15, 2020

I may be only 5'3. But I'm of Guatemalan and Puerto Rican descent, Honey. And I ain't scared of no Coronavirus ... Okay, maybe a little, tiny bit ... But I'm not trying to lose my head about it like most people are. Really, I'm not ...

It occurred to me that I should get up on Saturday morning and go to the store, just to get a few odds and ends. This was mostly due to the fact the my three siblings were going to be out of school until April 6th. Two weeks for their school to be thoroughly scrubbed down and the remainder for their annual week of Spring Break. So I wanted to make sure there was plenty of snacks, cereal, bread, milk and sandwich meat for them.

There were rumblings that my job was going to be closed too, but the official word hadn't come down from on high just yet. But even still, I figured that I should get a few extra items to insure that there would be meat in the storehouse. Again, this was before I knew that the dear, sweet politicians were going to give executive orders to try to control this thing by shutting down jobs and dining rooms of restaurants and such. But my Spidey sense was tingling. You know what I mean? And I just felt like I should err on the side of caution.

Not that it mattered. As soon as I got to the parking lot of my favorite grocery store, I noticed the abundance of cars. Not that the parking lot wasn't always full at this popular supermarket ... But, it was only 6am in the morning ... Are you kidding me? And then I step inside and the the self check-out line is around the corner, down the aisle and stretching past the produce and frozen food section, back past the liquor and snack rows. Not normal outside of Black Friday.

Again, I ain't scared. Though I was a little concerned when I saw that the frozen bin that was usually full of a good hundred frozen turkey rolls, only contained four. And the toilet paper row looked as if a cyclone hit it. Really?

Folks were hoarding food items as if Thanos was coming (or Darkseid ... Take your pick). Maybe because the conspiracy theories were hitting the internet about two week quarantines possibly morphing into month or two month long city shutdowns. But still ... Old man .... Old lady ... Do you really have enough room in your deep freezer for all of those red and white buckets of chitterlings? I don't mean to be nosy. I'm just asking. Things like that stroke at my curiosity.

And while my curiosity was being stroked, I received a text message from my co worker ... We were definitely being put out of school until March 31st .... Wow ...

7am-saturday-march-15

To Quarantine Or Not To Quarantine

The thought of having two weeks off from my job ...

The circumstances were jacked up. Yes. But I worked at the type of job where we lived for the weekends and holidays. Thankfully there were a lot of holidays, because I worked for the school system. But not just any school, I worked for a Special Needs school.

Plenty of shoe leather being worn down at my job. Not a bad way to make a buck in general. Except when you have to deal with the kids who have behaviors that required ducking, dodging and/or restraining.

My charge's name was Carlos.

Carlos was confined to a wheelchair for years. Now at 14 years of age, after years of working with the physical therapist daily, he was able to walk. Not perfectly. A little wobbly, but still, he could walk and refused to be contained any in kind of chair or classroom for that matter.

How can he learn if he won't stay in his classroom for more that five minutes per day -- if that much. If you try to lay a hand on his shoulder or escort him to where he is supposed to be, you basically gotta fight for your right, because Dude was as strong as a middle linebacker.

Diaper full of sh** .... Make that two diapers. And he could wet through both and not bother to tell you that he needs to go to the bathroom; though he was happy to regale you with synopsis of his favorite reality shows -- Black Ink and Real Housewives of Atlanta. Why his people allowed him to watch that mess and not something that would cultivate his cognitive abilities, I'll never know.

It wasn't just at home though. At school, no real measures were being instituted to keep him from roaming the halls all day. I mean, turn your back and he's gone. That's what happened if you were able to coax him in the classroom for those five or so minutes.

Nothing worked consistently. Not wooing him with the fair skinned damsel with the long ponytail that he had a crush on. Not taking his shoes and forcing him to walk with the slippery AFOs that were strapped to his legs. Not wet floor hazzard signs or DO NOT ENTER signs. "No" means nothing. "Stop" means nothing. Threatening to call home means nothing, because he knows that -- although its been done, they won't do it all of the time,so --- it's basically an empty threat from the teacher and principal. Absolutely no consequences.

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In the meantime, I have to follow him -- back and forth, forth and back, up and down the hallways -- because Carlos has a shunt or stent in his brain. And I'm reminded to stay on him, because if I don't and he slips and falls, tension will be paid in the form of wrath from his guardians.

So while I felt for some of the kids that would be affected by the school's shutdown ... The ones who may live with abusive parents, aren't fed properly and feel like school was their safe place ... I couldn't help feeling some kind of way about being away from Carlos.

Sam's Club Hobart, Indiana

Sam's Club Hobart, Indiana

Sam's Club Hobart, Indiana

Sam's Club Hobart, Indiana

The Downside

Besides the panic crazy people fighting in the grocery stores over the last roll of Charmin, the governor has decided that restaurants should close down their dining areas. So if I get a taste for Kentucky Fried Chicken, I'll have to depend on the drive thru or a delivery if that's available.

On top of that, there are conspiracy theories that this will last a month or two and that the president will declare martial law, shooting people on sight who dare to leave their homes ... Yep.

You don't have to worry about that from me though. I'll be quietly nestled in my room, watching Blue Bloods and Baywatch reruns on my HULU. And if my streaming stick fails me, I have tons of of tv shows on DVD. I'm just saying.

My only real concern at this present time is for my siblings ...

See, we lost our mom about a year ago to Breast Cancer and I can't tell you if Papa was a rolling stone, because I never met the man. So my little sister and my two brothers are my complete responsibility. And I would have never wished anything like this type of hysteria on them. So ya'll pray my strength in the Lord, that not only does the money and food stretch for such a time as this ... But also that I can hold my peace and be a rock for my precious babies. Because I'm their mother now and they need me.

Thanks for listening

Meijer Highland, Indiana

Meijer Highland, Indiana

Peace In The Midst Of The Storm

Two weeks have passed ...

And then another two weeks ...

Okay, there seems to be no end to this thing. And I'm starting to get a little scared. But of course I can't let the kids know that I'm scared. Right? Because I'm their guardian now. I have to play the strong, silent type. But I am scared. Out of my mind even. And then I received the best gift in the world, in the form of a message on my social media page.

This guy.

This wonderful guy from work that I'd sort of been crushing on. Well, he actually checked in on me. Through social media, because he didn't have my phone number. Probably not thinking that I would answer back. And maybe I wouldn't in normal times. Because he was sort of taken. But he was the only one who did check on me. So that meant a lot to me. And suddenly the fear that I was feeling began to dissipate.

© 2020 LaZeric Freeman

Comments

LaZeric Freeman (author) from Hammond on March 15, 2020:

Thank you emilybee. I appreciate you taking the time to read.

emilybee on March 15, 2020:

Thank you for sharing your personal story; I really enjoyed it.

Wishing you the best through these difficult times.

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