I never thought it would be a luxury to take the children to parks, zoos, and museums. But one day it happened. Since the pandemic started, we hadn’t been to any such places. We all longed for the spring of 2019.
I had gotten a bag of rice, a bag of flour, and some bread, but unfortunately, there was no more toilet paper on the shelves. In fact, most of the supermarket shelves were empty. But right after I decided to check out, I glimpsed a pack of toilet paper on the potato shelf. I hurried over, grabbed it, and threw it into my shopping cart as fast as I could.
I got my acupuncturist license in 2001. Twenty years ago. The same year 9/11 happened. This tragedy shocked the world. On the day it happened, I volunteered to join the Pacific Acupuncture College team of the Federal Emergency Rescue after work. I still recall the silence and deep sorrow on every rescuer’s face. Two days after 9/11, there were not enough treatment beds for therapy.
I heard the ocean swelling,
Daring me to cross.
When we come to a new place, we always make new friends, and some beautiful stories may happen.
Since I moved to New York City, I have been living in midtown Manhattan, near the East River. In my leisure time, I like walking along the riverside, especially when the weather is nice. Over the river, many seagulls glide over the mirror-like surface of the water. The breeze gently brushes my cheeks, and the special smell combining the river and the ocean mesmerizes me and takes me to the other side of the sea. It is such a soothing place that it made me fall in love with this city.
Swimming—I hadn’t heard that word for almost two decades. My family members and friends were prohibited from mentioning any water-related activity. It is unbelievable that a girl who lived near the beach wouldn’t allow this. How could this be? Very surprisingly, I was scared of the water. This brings up one unforgettable event.
The best day of my life was in July 2019. It was a sunny, beautiful day. I came back home from work. My son, who was 13 years old, said to me, “Happy Birthday,” and showed me a birthday cake. “I made it by myself.” Wow, I was so surprised and happy. The cake smelled so good, and it also was beautiful. It was a chocolate cake. Before, my son had never baked a cake. He learned it from YouTube.
Due to the pandemic, most of the libraries had been closed since March 2020. The closest library would be open from July 1, 2021, which was the most exciting news we heard that summer. One sunny morning, my son and I happily went to this library, laughing all the way. But it was 9:45 a.m., too early; it would open at 10 a.m.
A rope may appear like an ordinary object to others, but it has a different meaning to me. A rope reawakened my childhood memories.
Six feet apart from my shoes.
—Ashly Cabral Arno
Eating to live; oops, the opposite!
A bad time for lipstick lovers.
As a powerful devil, the coronavirus opened its mouth and traveled all over the world. It was invisible. As I write, it has caused more than 100 million people to become sick so far, making them struggle in pain without being able to breathe. It has killed more than 2.5 million people. It has destroyed many families without notice. It has forced many countries to lock down and prevented people from enjoying vacations. It doesn’t even allow people to talk together, close up.
Some like it, because it owns beauty. Some avoid it, because it is straightforward. Some even want to break it. I look in the mirror thousands of times before I go out. I adjust my makeup on my face so many times. Why can’t I get the look I want? This could ruin my whole new day. What you see in the mirror is your shadow.
I never went to high school, but I passed the TASC exam and received my High School Equivalency diploma in 2017. In New York, there are programs offering a chance to acquire HSE credentials to someone who hasn’t been able to complete high school. That is, if you can pass all five tests, including reading, writing, social studies, science, and mathematics. The program I joined was founded by a 92-year-old man who had two teachers and a receptionist working with him. Approximately 30 students studied there.
This is a sad story, and it might leave a hole in my heart forever. I’ll call her A. We had been working at the same company headquarters in China for five years. However, we never got to know each other and were both transferred to New York City. During the first five months I worked here, we were nothing but coworkers.
The winds of fall strongly blew down many yellow maple leaves. I quickly ran out of the train station. I was worried I wouldn’t catch the bus. Suddenly, a familiar body was walking at my side.