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The Day The World Stood Still

“Justin, you can’t leave the apartment, okay?”

“Um…yeah. I mean I wasn’t going anywhere, anyway.”

“No, you don’t understand. You can’t leave your apartment. No one can leave.”


That was the conversation between me and my boss on the fourth week on being in China. Side note, my boss was also the principal of my school and he was the coolest guy. Much like me, very chilled and very laid-back with everybody and everything. He doesn’t like wearing dress clothes and he prefers jeans and T-shirt. But, this time around, though still laid-back, he had an air of urgency to him and an undeniable concern about my safety. And that, ladies and gentleman, was the beginning of the COVID-19.

I was a little late at learning about it but, even still, it didn’t really bother me. I was told to stay in the apartment and that’s what I was planning on to do, anyway. I didn’t know the area as well as I wanted to and I wanted to get a jump on my Short Story Project. But, then, went from mild to mayhem in a course of a few weeks.

Businesses started to close. Rules started to implemented to reduce contact. And, worst of all, I was being watched like a hawk - by everybody! I do mean everybody. I had a landlord who would report me if I left the building for any reason. Even if I went for a walk to stretch my legs, I would get a call from my principal as a check-up and check-in. It got to the point where my principal and I told my landlord that I’m not a kid and I will not tolerate being harassed. But that was mild for me. The real torture was the limitations.

I’ve always been a homebody so being at home wasn’t a big deal for me. However, that was because I had the option to. But, from February to July, I was subjected to quarantine with only being allowed to leave every three days for grocery shopping and - yes - they checked. They being the landlord and my principal. I was fine for the first two months…until reality set in. I was trapped.

I couldn’t leave the complex and, at a certain point, it was becoming abundantly clear that it was going to be like that for a while. It got worse when Express VPN became more and more unreliable resulting me not having internet thus reverting me to being an old school writer. Pen and paper, one of world’s oldest inventions. At least, I had my Nintendo Switch and a lot of games.

But, the good thing that came from this lockdown was the amount of friends that I made through WeChat. I managed to make friends with a lot of artist, gamers, and nerds and I’m still friends with them to this day. Plus, my principal made it a point to make sure that I was remaining sane throughout this global mayhem. But, believe it or not, that wasn’t the only problem I was having.

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