“Yes mom,” I said twirling my homemade pizza dough above me in the air.
“We could give some of your toys to Charlotte, though I am not sure if she would want any. If we could clear some of the bins out of your closet, I am sure that after this whole pandemic is over we could put up new shelving,” my mom said taking the tomato sauce out of the cupboard and placing it next to me along with a spoon.
“Where would we put all of my books and toys if we install shelving in my closet?” I asked wearily.
Ever since this pandemic has started, my mom and I have worked on clearing out all of my old toys and clothes. We also started trying new recipies and baking more often, as well as reading and discussing new books.
“Well, maybe we could donate some of your old things that Charlotte does not want to your old preschool. I am sure that they would enjoy your toys much more than you do at this point. After all, you have a lot of good memories there so it would be nice to give back,” my mom said thoughtfully.
“When we walked Lenny this morning, I noticed something that does not usually occur during our walks,” I blurted out, yanking my mom out of her trance.
“What was that?” she asked.
“People seemed to be kinder to one another. They said hello, and remember that old man? He even stopped to talk with us while he watered his garden,” I said walking over to our vintage oven, turning up the heat, and placing the pizza on the top rack.
“I noticed that too,” my mom responded.
30 Minutes Later
“Fiona! Can you please come out here and turn your timer off. It has been ringing for the past minute!” my mom said poking her head into my bedroom.
“Sorry!” I said, quickly jumping off my bed and racing down the hall.
“The pizza is done,” I said, rushing to take it out of the oven.
“Remember, you still have to finish your English essay on what living through the coronavirus is like, and then, if you do not mind, I have a few things for you to share with our neighbors,” my mom said following me into the kitchen.
“You know, you really got me thinking when you said that we are becoming more of a community, and earlier, when I was texting Ann, she said that she learned from this experience that she would like to slow down and enjoy what life brings rather than living such a busy lifestyle,” my mom said looking at the orange and pink glow of the sunset out our window which seemed to be even more beautiful now that there was not so much air pollution. I thought about my mom’s statement and of all the hard and fast decisions that my family has had to make in the past.
“Yes, I think that I would like to slow down as well,” I finally answered smiling slightly as I took a bite of pizza.
The Next Day:
“Let’s start by going down Finley. Then, we can plan the rest of his walk from there,” I said looking down at my dog whose tongue is lolling out of his mouth.
“I think that sounds like an excellent plan,” my mom agreed, adjusting her mask.
“We should get a mask for Lenny,” I said looking at his snout.
“Which would last about five seconds,” my mom laughed. We walked down the street discussing the coronavirus and masks when we saw our neighbors Justin and Jana helping an old woman.
“I hope that she is okay. Hey Jana, Justin. How are you?” I asked, maintaining a six foot distance between us and them.
“We are doing good,” Justin answered grinning broadly.
“Is everything alright?” my mom asked looking at the old woman in concern.
“She is having some trouble getting back to her house,” Jana replied. “Don’t worry,” she said loudly to the old woman. “We will get you home no matter what we have to do.” We asked if they needed any help, but they said they were fine, so we continued walking.
“That is really kind of them to help that women out,” my mom said looking back at their small figures retreating in the distance.
“Like I said, we are definitely becoming more of a community during this whole pandemic,” I replied absentmindedly.
Later That Night:
“Hurry mom, the cheering is about to start any minute!” I yelled rushing with my flute, maracas, and poppers onto the balcony.
“Did you send out the email inviting all of our neighbors to cheer with us?” my mom asked, coming out the door and holding an old wind chime that she found in our attic.
“Yes, I did. I really hope that all of our neighbors join us in the cheering,” I said, just as our friends Gina and Kevin came walking out onto their balcony.
“Hey guys!” Gina called. “Are you ready for some serious cheering?” she asked me.
“You know I am always ready!” I yelled back waiting for the first firework to blast into the sky. A few minutes later, I heard a loud pop and people yelling and screaming. We all joined in cheering for all the front-line workers, which was something that we had started doing every night at eight o’clock. During that time, I thought about all the selfless people who risk their lives every day to make sure we get what we need. I hope people remember the community building, kindness, and slower paced lifestyles that happened during this time and that they will continue doing these things even after the social distancing is over.