“Do you know what’s happening inside this hospital?”
I looked over at my father. I glanced at a couple sitting across the room from me. I reached for my stitches but stopped myself. There was no pain. At least, not yet, and further down the room, I could hear a woman screaming at the nurses. I couldn’t tell what she was saying, but I could hear the fear in her voice. I was about to say something to my father when a nurse returned to my bed and asked him to get the car. I was going home, and just in time too. That woman nearby was escalating, screaming and crying, and we were all getting nervous. Well, maybe not me.
I struggled to get into the wheelchair. The nurse made sure that I was secure in my seat and had all my belongings. She turned the wheelchair around and pushed me down the room, heading in that woman’s direction. She was still screaming and crying. When I looked at her, she paused, meeting my stare. Her face was drenched in fear, and little did I know at that time that I would see that face again.
For two weeks in March, I recovered from surgery. I rotated from upstairs to downstairs. I stretched out on the couch in the living room, reading my Poets & Writers Magazines plus one Science Magazine, hoping my neighbor across the street didn’t think I was re-enacting Rear Window while I stared out at her. If I wasn’t on the couch, I was in my room at my desk, writing, and throughout the house day and night, the news was on. The voices of President Trump, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio echoed across the walls, and if I didn’t hear them, then I heard others from CNN. And they all talked about the Coronavirus, and I didn’t want to hear about it.
The day came to return to work. I was deemed an essential worker. I felt like a fraud. I wasn’t saving lives. I was doing data entry, assisting others with their tasks, and I was putting my life at risk. I was putting my family at risk. I wanted to stay home, but I already lost pay because my doctor extended my recovery time. I had to go back, and I didn’t know what I was walking into. And I still wasn’t ready to accept the new reality that invaded my world, but I didn’t have a choice.
The office was in full panic mode. Keep my face mask on. Move my computer over to the wall. Eat in another room. One wore the same face of that woman from the hospital. She was just not screaming or crying on the outside, and I feel bad that I did not understand her. She was right. I was wrong, but my mind was consumed with other things. And I couldn’t take the tension or the dread, but I observed everything. I heard the conversations in the hall, the phone calls nearby. The new reality was sinking in, and my hand touched my stomach. I flinched.
When I wasn’t at work, I was home on the computer, logged into the website, Medium. It was there that I would write my short stories and poetry. I didn’t realize it until recently that when I stumbled across Medium last year, I started to build something on their platform. I was creating my voice and showing the world my mind, my heart and soul, and with everything going on especially with COVID, I needed to release what was inside.
Characters started to knock at my door. Please, write my story, they said, and they waited at the orange light. The news continued to play inside my house, non-stop, some with a cidas touch. Scenarios played out. What would a meeting with tomorrow look like, and if I needed the wheels in my head to turn, I would turn to The Bad Influence, who inspired me to write, to look for a silver lining across the dark skies. And the short stories kept flowing. Some found home on Storymaker, another publication on Medium that has featured my writing, and sometimes, I only needed to say a Few Words, another publication on Medium. Later on, I would step back and look at all the writing that I had created because of the Coronavirus, but was having it on Medium enough? Or should I do more, but was the world ready right now for a collection of writing based around the pandemic that was still going on? But my characters had a story to tell, and maybe their stories would help other people. So, I self-published the collection of short stories on Amazon and Amazon Kindle and called it, Stories Written Along COVID Walls. This collection would be for young adults to adults, and I hope that this collection finds another publisher one day. I hope that this collection inspires others to tell their stories because we all have a story to tell especially with the way the world is today.