When this all first started, they said there would be no waiting.
Cracking my knuckles only kills a few seconds so it’s not long before my mind is back on the never ending line in front of me. At least we are all spread far enough apart that I could stretch my arms so far in front of me and still not touch the man with his bowler hat, or kick out my leg enough to never reach the woman and her daughter arguing at my back.
They said it wouldn’t be as bad as this.
Someone coughs and I can’t help it… but I flinch. I’m not the only one either. Between my rumbling stomach, scrunched shoulders, and painful headache I feel like I made a mistake coming. Maybe I could have gone another night without dinner.
They said that by now this would all be over.
In better times, I would have been knee deep in tips from slinging hot burgers and greasy fries. I would have been spending my mornings running on the beach and my nights banging shoulders with my friends. My anxiety wouldn’t be strung as tight as bow, my bills wouldn’t be weighing down my shoulders, and the news wouldn’t be hammering me hour by hour with the bleakness of it all. (Why didn’t we listen? Why didn’t we realize sooner? Are we all that selfish? Throwing a party at what cost? A few thousand lives…) I shift my weight to my other leg, not because I needed to but just because I needed something, anything, to distract me. If only for another few seconds.
This summer was supposed to be the best one yet. Who would have thought it would have been the saddest? The one to ruin every other summer… in our new reality.
Everything happens for a reason. I’ll tell it to myself over and over. Until I believe it. Another distraction to make the time seem less still. Another few seconds to pass by.
©2021 Jai Lynn