My Story: The Final Sunset


On March 13, 2020, I was 16 years old. For everyone, this was the day school shut down for those initial two weeks due to the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. But for me, it was the last day I would see the beach of an island I loved, probably forever.
I wasn’t sitting among my peers getting excited over an extended spring break; I was at the beach with my family. I was swimming with the waves, playing in the sand and trying to enjoy the last day of a trip that would never come again.
As the daughter of two medical professionals, I was aware that the virus was becoming a more pressing issue, but I had no clue that I would be quarantined in my house for months when I returned home after my week-long trip. On March 13th, I wasn’t thinking of the days of boredom at home that would follow or that the plane ride I would take the next day would be my last for a long time.
“You will not speak of this virus, you will not cough or sneeze, and you will not make any jokes about it either,” my mom repeated over and over on the car ride to the airport. “If you do, we may not be able to go home.”
We were all used to a little pre-trip stress, but this time, it felt different.
My sisters and I didn’t understand the severity of the emerging pandemic until we were boarding our plane. People were wearing masks — the ones we only knew as surgical masks at that point — and wiping down their seats with Clorox wipes before sitting down. We kept our mouths shut and heads down as the airport we had grown up traveling to became a war zone and a place of fear.
Looking back on this crazy day in my history, I don’t see the panic that would come once arriving back at home. I don’t think about the fact that I wouldn’t step foot in a classroom for a year and a half. I don’t think about how I went crazy from boredom or how I wouldn’t see my friends for months. Instead, I am reminded day sitting in the sand with my sisters, listening to the crashing wavesand watching the sun slip below the horizon.
I will always look back on March 13, 2020, as a turning point in my life. It marks the end of the life I had known: hanging out with my friends every other day, breathing freely while play sports, going to school without the fear that tomorrow will be online.
Although I left a bit of myself on that beach, this day in my history will be one that sticks with me forever.