I remember seeing it in a DOE school newsletter.
I remember not thinking it was a big deal.
I remember leaving a restaurant with my dad, and him scolding me for not washing my hands, and me rolling my eyes.
I remember saying, “Well there are 0 cases in New York.”
I remember talking about it in advisory and homeroom every day, and teachers lecturing their students about sanitation and safety.
I remember when all of a sudden things got serious.
I remember me and my friends not being able to hug or cry to each other about what high schools we got into.
I remember receiving a letter from my principal that I was in danger of not graduating, and thinking, “It’ll be ok, we’re going back to school on the 29th”
I remember thousands of deaths every day.
I remember it being announced that going back to school would be delayed indefinitely.
I remember my mom not wanting me to leave the house alone, because the streets were so barren.
I remember for the first time, completely losing faith in my future.
I remember being ecstatic when I learned just a couple days before the ceremony that I would be graduating.
I remember graduating middle school whilst sitting in my living room with a livestream from my school on my dad’s computer open.
I remember for the first time, staying in a motel on Long Island, a neighborhood down from my grandparent’s house so we could drive and socially-distance visit them in their backyard in the afternoons, and spending my last day of middle school in that little motel room and then in their backyard, where we waved around firecrackers.
I remember sitting at home, thinking about the fact that right now was when I was supposed to be on a summer vacation.
I remember my sister temporarily dying my hair red and blue in the bathroom on the fourth of July, and me dying her hair purple.
I remember eating at a restaurant in New York City for the first time since the start of the pandemic that same day, and being happy that the outside world got to see me with my new cool hair, but turning very sad that night when I couldn’t see the fireworks from my house.
I remember going to the Long Island motel every other weekend.
I remember sitting across the motel bed from my sister and eating really good Italian sandwiches, thinking that this moment would be one of my last with her before she went off to college.
I remember her college releasing a statement that they wouldn’t be taking any students on campus in the fall semester, and her being so devastated she didn’t speak to anyone for days.
I remember watching TV around the house and doing absolutely nothing, just savoring my last days of summer break.
I remember the change in weather, and with it the feeling of new beginnings, and hearing through the grapevine that they might be finally developing a vaccine.
I remember my first official day of high school in my bed, in no makeup and pajamas.
I remember being completely overwhelmed and unprepared for my new high school workload.
I remember crying on my birthday because I was alone and sad, and fighting with my parents, and being angry and sad that they were trying to push me around on my birthday.
I remember dressing as a Wendy’s Drive-Thru employee for Halloween.
I remember that all anyone could talk about was the election.
I remember the week that the entire country was in turmoil, checking my phone every couple of hours to see who had taken what state, and being in agony that the votes were coming in so slow.
I remember a morning at my grandparent’s house when I wasn’t feeling particularly hopeful that the votes were coming in anytime soon, sitting on their pullout couch when my grandpa turned on the TV to watch basketball, and suddenly seeing that the election was called for Joe Biden, and screaming so memorably loud.
I remember it getting colder outside and running out of things to do.
I remember being unbelievably stressed about my schoolwork now that I was back to full-time remote after a short-lived attempt at blended learning, and just telling myself to hold off until winter break.
I remember spending Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years inside, mostly in my pajamas.
I remember the sun setting at 4 in the afternoon, and by the time I finished my classes and my urgent homework, it was already dark outside and I hadn’t even eaten anything that day.
I remember realizing that the winter was even harder than the summer.
I remember being miserable.
I remember reminiscing that only a year ago today, we had absolutely no idea what was coming.
I remember not knowing a day that I didn’t spend fatigued.
But I remember being grateful for the people I was close to in my life, even if it wasn’t that many, but mostly my sister because I know I might’ve taken my life that winter if it wasn’t for her.