Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories here. Submit your own here.
Hugs in the distance
Every Mother’s Day, I take my Mom to her favorite restaurant. She smiles, embraces me, and shows her happiness through the brightness in her eyes. This May, I just send her roses and lilies and we have a face-to-face call. I can see the fear and sadness she hides.
We begin talking about the coronavirus, but as the conversation progresses, we relax, appreciate the opportunity to connect through technology. We laugh and feel close thanks to the hugs and kisses thrown at the screen. When we say goodbye, we have hopes to get together again.
— Silvia Peláez (Mexico City, Mexico)
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Thank you, Sunrise
Although we may be living in a sad, boring, and confusing world right now, there are still ways to stay happy. I would like to thank the youth-led Sunrise Movement for bringing me happiness and motivation during the coronavirus crisis. The climate crisis is still happening, people! Sunrise is an incredible movement and it is what keeps me going. I now feel I have the power to make change in a world where, unfortunately, most don’t feel that way. Listen to the youth. They know what’s real. Thank you Sunrise, for giving me courage during these unprecedented and scary times.
— Ruby (Ithaca, New York)
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Tuning in to Nature
I sweep up the leaves that have turned red and dropped, aware that the seasons are changing as I am. I focus on the garden and my daily visitors. A bird hops onto my bird bath and a praying mantis is spotted on the wall. I welcome these joyful new friends and hope they have come to stay. The vegetable patch is developing and other creatures make holes in the leaves. I am trying to accept and thrive instead of battling to survive. By tuning in to nature, I let my mind flow like water and reflect it like a mirror.
— June Arderne (Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
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The Virus of Greed
Trumpish billionaires are especially thriving in quarantine. How?
The richest New York City billionaire landlord does it through wanton disregard. Disregards a court order to fix chronic leaks until the ceiling collapses. Catastrophic flooding destroys a sweet lady’s apartment. She loses belongings, furnishings, and her thirty-plus-year rent-stabilized home.
Sickened from mold, immune compromised, homeless for over two years, with zero compensation from the billionaires, she’s vulnerable, quarantined in yet another friend’s house.
Papers arrive! Settlement? Finally? No, billionaire landlord’s still suing for thousands of dollars in “back rent” – for when she was homeless.
The Virus of Greed persists. Superspreader President, no vaccine.
— Keni Fine (Astoria, New York)
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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