When the world practically stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my five best friends and I created a group chat. It was our way of remaining connected, considering we were no longer supposed to meet and have fun. It was also where we could “shout” our issues about the world in general.
Of course, the typical topic was coronavirus. I had some of the most easily scared friends on the planet, you see. One of them left his project site and flew home to his hometown with only a population of 300 to reduce his chances of having COVID-19. In his fear of catching the virus and spreading it to his parents, the other had not gone home since December 2019. I had no idea how he could catch it when we were both IT people working from home.
As for me, I was pretty chill during the pandemic. I did not move back with my parents because it felt impractical to leave behind an apartment in NYC that I would continue to pay for. As I said, I worked remotely, and I only got an apartment there for entirely fun purposes, but it did not mean that the coronavirus would stay forever. My parents were cool with my decision as long as we video-conferenced all the time.
How My Days Went
My days in isolation were not as awful as I imagined. Every morning, I would have breakfast on my balcony that’s overlooking the street. I would say hi to people from afar and wait until the sun was too high up before retreating inside. Then, I would take a shower, put on my favorite pajamas, and start working. The only time I would get up was around four o’clock when my shift was over.
Many people might have been depressed because of my routine. Even my best friends fussed over it and wondered if I was among those individuals who hid their misery behind laughter and smile. But I found that comment hilarious since I genuinely felt comfortable in my isolation.
I preferred isolating myself more than seeing my coworkers every day. During the pandemic, I got to get my groceries and do my laundry in the mornings again. I did not need to rely on fast-food chains too much because I had time to cook my meals. There was also no longer a speck of dust anywhere in my apartment, which I used to be too busy to care about before.
The Time I Dreaded Isolation
When did I ever feel scared of being alone, you might ask? It happened around the fourth quarter of 2020 – almost close to Thanksgiving. My mother insisted that I should come home for the occasion, but then I would have to take many preventive measures, so I told her I’d stay behind. If anything, I could prepare a small feast for myself and do another video conference with them during dinner time.
The thing was, I contracted the coronavirus three days before Thanksgiving. I could not pinpoint where I got it. It could be at the grocery store, at the park where I began jogging, or even in the hallway of my apartment. Still, the test results did not lie – I had COVID-19.
That was the first time I dreaded isolation. The first few days were bearable, but the more days passed, the more I had difficulty breathing. Even when I inhaled clean air in my apartment, I would still have to stop mid-inhalation as it felt like I was breathing in nothing but dust. It did not help that my fever was on and off for over a week.
How I Survived
If I went past seven days alone, I might have called 911 to take me to a hospital so that I won’t feel too lonely. Luckily, on the eighth day, I heard people yelling my name from the street. When I peered down, I could not help but cry as I saw all my friends looking up at my balcony.
Did they come up to keep me company for the rest of my quarantining? Of course not. There was still no vaccination at the time; none of them could have some protection against the coronavirus. All they could do was stand in front of my apartment building and yell words of encouragement to me.
Did their antics help? Yes, a lot. My friends gave me something to look forward to every day. That was incredibly important, considering they were technically my family in the big city. Just seeing their faces and hearing their voices made me want to get better quickly.
I was the only one to contract the coronavirus in our little group. I felt thankful for that since I did not want my best friends to go through the same ordeal. And last March 2021, we all got fully vaccinated together.