Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘I can see by your eyes’

Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories hereSubmit your own here.

A Mirror of Priorities

On March 12, I started manically offloading my thoughts into my phone. These times – the penny had dropped – were not ordinary. Rereading these thought-bites has been a process of defining what is important. And, through the restriction of “locking down” at home, I’ve been granted freedom to subconsciously create a space which shines a light on my priorities: books I’ve taken off the shelf, half-finished rainy day projects I’ve resurrected, people I’ve gravitated towards through cyberspace. With the filler of “normal” life stripped away, we create a home-based microcosm of the world we wish to sustain upon release.

— Sophie Gledhill (Erith, London, UK)

Books liberated from shelves: a mirror of priorities.

* * *

The Campfire

Living with others in a flat never felt cramped when schedules differed. Four people unemployed makes for tight living. You long for community, just not the one rubbing your elbows. A change of venue! We threw on backpacks, rolled sleeping bags. Our little camp among the wilderness flipped perspective. We got to forget, to breathe. Solitude shrunk with isolation. We laughed again. We felt new kinds of fear – together. Nights later we returned to the flat. Our elbows touched and we remembered. The world grew again. When I look in my roommates’ eyes now I still see the campfire.

— Mitchell Ward (Chicago, Illinois)

White flower in the leaves.

* * *

Dear Generation Zoomers

Dear Generation Zoomers,

A cool breeze rests under the leaves
Full of life
Technology cannot sync up our heart
So out of touch
So out of reach
Adults told us: Get off your phones. Face to face is not FaceTime
We thought it was fine
We had choices, free will
No, there is no way to escape these electric bars
If only your touch could soothe my pain
So please let’s stay in touch even if we are out of each other’s

Your future

— Shaunael Milton (Inglewood, California)

Through the screen.

* * *

The Eyes Have It

I was exiting Central Park after an afternoon walk with Pumpkin The Punk Pup. As the new normal, I was wearing a bandana to cover my nose and mouth. I fancy myself a bandit. Just as we were about to leave, a woman, a complete stranger, stopped me and said, “I can see by your eyes that you have a beautiful face.” What a gift! For a moment I actually felt beautiful.

— Valerie Cihylik (New York, New York)

Punk and me smiling.


This series is edited by Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.

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