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4 Lengthy Months: Home at Last

4 Lengthy Months: Home at Last

Valentina Marini Fichera

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

Short Story: Home at Last

4 months
4 months

I woke up at the sound of fierce honking and sat up from where I was resting on the car door. Dad was cursing and complaining about the other drivers on the road, recovering from an abrupt swerve to avoid a lane-passing van. Mom aggressively whispered “Zack!” and indicated my still-sleeping siblings in the car. “Sorry, sorry! But these people! They don’t know how to drive…” my Dad continued grumbling to himself.

Mom glanced behind her and caught sight of me arranging myself in my seat and gave me a reassuring smile, “We’re almost there, Andy.” She turned back around and faced the road ahead.

I checked the baby seat next to me, and Valerie was snoozing away, unfazed by the sounds that had awoken me. I looked in the back seats behind me and Valerie, and my twin brothers were also apparently deeply asleep, leaning against one another.
I peered out my own window and saw we were going to arrive very soon. We had finally entered the city.

Four months is a long time.

We’d been out of the city for four whole months. Away from home for four whole months! A third of the year was spent at our cousins’ up in the countryside. The week after the news started reporting coronavirus cases in our area, we packed up our things and fled to a region less likely to be a major hotspot than the city.

Now, as the cases were stabilizing and businesses were adapting, it was time for us to leave our relatives’ overcrowded house and go home. It wasn’t like it had been before we left. The city wasn’t as crowded with people with places to go to. It wasn’t bustling with its lively spirit as we had known. Yet, it wasn’t as empty as I had imagined. On the streets, most people were noticeably farther apart from each other and masked.

I pulled my eyes away from the window and sighed as I slumped into my seat.
I wonder how everything is going to change. Back at our cousins’, Aunt Lily had graciously hosted our whole family in addition to our grandparents, our other cousins, and her own family but we all stayed inside the house most of the time.

The kids didn’t have to wear masks. Only the adults who went out into town wore masks. Now that Dad’s work was opening again in a couple of days, our family had to take the four-hour trip back to the city.

Dad spotted a parking spot close to our building entrance, “Liv, wake up the kids now. We need to tell them the drill for when we go outside.” Mom looked at me and nodded toward the boys in the back. She reached out toward Valerie and tried to wake her up. I stuck my hand behind my seat and tapped, flicked, and poked my brothers awake.

After a few seconds of confused groans and yawns, everyone in the car was up and alert. “Ok, so,” Dad turned around from the wheel and began, “This is the plan. Mom is going to hand out the masks. Put them on. Tight, okay? I don’t want to see your mouths or noses until we get into the house. Mom is going to lead you out the car to the building, up the stairs, and into the apartment—

Wait, why the stairs? Why not the elevator?” Tom asked, popping his head over the backseat. “Elevator’s down for some reason. The repairman called every resident this morning. It’s no big deal: just don’t touch the railings, okay?” We all nodded.
Anyway, Mom will be with you,” he assured us as Mom nodded. “She is going to drop you off and then come back down to help with the other bags we have in the back of the car. Only take the backpacks you have in front of you when you go up with Mom. I can handle the rest after she comes back down. Again, don’t touch anything until you get into the house.

Mom added, “If you do, it’s fine. Just wash your hands once you get upstairs for thirty seconds, okay?” Dad continued, “Yeah, sure, but try not to. You won’t have to touch anything because Mom’s got gloves and she’ll open all the doors and stuff. Stay close to her. Once you get upstairs, wash your hands. Then you guys can do what you want to do for a little bit while the adults unload the car. Okay?” We all agreed to the plan, which signalled my mom to dive into her purse.

She pulled out six masks. She passed back four to me while she and Dad slipped on their black masks. I helped Tom and George with their medium-sized neon green and orange masks. I then snuggly put on my large blue one. Valerie giggled and pointed at the sight of her now-masked family and excitedly allowed me to tie the tiny pink mask around her head. “Ninjas!” Valerie giggled, pointing at Mom and Dad. Tom and George laughed and I grinned at this.

Mom smiled with her eyes and asked in a muffled voice “Ready?” before opening her door and exiting the car into the open-aired world. I opened the car’s back door on the sidewalk side and climbed out of the car. After I swung both my and Valerie’s backpack on my shoulders, I unbuckled Valerie from her car seat. I pulled her from the entangling buckles and carried her on my hip. When Mom came around the car, she pressed some buttons and pulled the seat forward, letting Tom and George hop out of the car, masked and with their bags.

Mom pulled the car door shut and marched to the building entrance, calling back, “Tom, George, hold your brother’s hand!” Tom grabbed George’s hand, and I grasped Tom’s hand with my one free arm, “C’mon, let’s follow Mama.” Mom, ahead of us, propped open the front door. The boys shuffled behind me as we passed by a couple of unmasked, homeless people sitting on the sidewalk nearby.

Mom closed the door behind us and rushed ahead to the staircase doorway. “I’ll open the door; you go up; I’ll follow. If you see anyone coming down, turn around and we’re going to the closest floor, okay?” “Yes, Mama,” George piped up. She reminded us not to touch the railings and pulled open the heavy, metal door. I slowly led the way up the dark stairwell, careful not to lose grip of Tom’s hand. We made our way up the stairs, almost arriving at the seventeenth floor without interruption when we heard a large crash of a heavy door closing above us.“Mom, go down: we have to stop at the floor below,” I alerted her.

We slipped onto the fifteenth-floor landing and checked through the glass window to make sure no one else was waiting before Mom pulled open the door and let us in. We waited for the man and his dog to pass the landing before we slipped back onto the stairs. When we finally got to our floor, Mom slid past us and opened the door with the big number seventeen painted on it. She let us go in first. She walked across the hallway to our apartment door and fumbled with the lock.

A blast of heat radiated from our apartment that was so strong I could feel it under my cloth mask. “Okay, so I’m going back down. Everything all right here?” Mom quickly said, halfway in the hallway and halfway in our apartment. “Go help Dad. We’re all good,” I assured her. She nodded and shut the door. George and Tom kicked off their shoes, ran to the bathroom, and whipped off their masks before washing their hands. They dashed to the living room and dumped their toys from their backpacks on the rug, continuing the paused game they were playing at our cousins’.

I removed my and Valerie’s shoes at the entrance with my one free arm. I then sat Valerie at the edge of the sink in the bathroom and removed both her and my masks. She laughed and scrunched up her maskless nose. I demonstrated how to wash her hands with me and made sure she washed them thoroughly for thirty seconds. She grinned and splashed the water in the sink. She slid from my arms onto the floor and waddled to the bedroom. I followed her and found her holding onto the bars of the crib, attempting to super-jump in somehow by herself.

I lifted her into the crib and placed her backpack in her arms. She immediately dumped it, as the boys had, and played with her dolls quietly. I sunk into my bed across from her crib and lay down for a moment. I closed my eyes to rest. Home at last!

Read other reccent articles, 5 Reasons Why Schools should not Re-Open this Tragic Year and 3 Keys to Self Love!

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

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The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

The following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

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,pThe following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

,pThe following is a short story or chapter of an everyday seventeen-year-old’s life at the moment. He has been social distancing with his family and close relatives for months far away from big crowds when his dad’s work opens again. He, his parents, and siblings must leave his extended family and go back to the city out of necessity and curiosity. What’s his home like now? What will be different? What will be the same?

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