Amy Shlyak

Here it is, a short story of what once was. Nobody
Asked for this but here it is anyway. A short while ago, a
Very lovely girl lived with her
One true love. They lived together in
Complete harmony and loved each other like there was no tomorrow.

In the midst of their lovely pursuit of daily life, there comes a
Suspicious telecaster, telling us that the world is taking a different turn. “A

Worldwide crisis” he said, “that is shutting down the world before our eyes.” The girl
Ran to the other room, warning her lover about the recent
Emergency. He said, “Ha! It’s no big deal; everyone’s making a bigger deal out of it than it is.” He
Asked her to shut off the television before more crazy thoughts corrode her mind. Peculiar, she thought, that
Keeping the television off would solve our problems.
It’s no big deal, he said. A few days later, she turns on the television for a light-hearted
News story, but instead was
Greeted with “a worldwide crisis that is shutting down the world before our eyes.” She looked harder

At the newscast, trying to process every word. Her lover comes into the room, saying, “I told you, those
Newscasts are mindless stories just used for publicity.
Don’t worry, everything will be fine.” She replied, “It’s… hard, because

Maybe it is real and, maybe it’s ignorant to,
You know, just dismiss this as fake. Maybe there’s something to this.” He snickered, firing

Back, “There’s no way the world’s state is as bad as they say. They’re
Really blowing it out of proportion.” She humored him. She let him believe he was right. She
Avoided the television, but that didn’t stop her from
Investigating all the news outlets. This “worldwide crisis” popped up everywhere;
Nowhere was there another story about a president’s conspiracy or a popstar’s

Infidelity. There’s no way this isn’t true, she thought. Maybe, for once,
She was right.

In the morning, a week after the argument, when her lover was leaving for work, she said, “Have a
Nice day at work, and stay safe.” “Are you reading the news?”

He said. “This whole ‘stay safe’ bit will
Eventually blow over. Don’t worry, I’ll be alright.” They kiss
Lovingly before he’s out the door. She smiled at him, knowing that he’s never been wrong about
Light-hearted, fake news stories before.

When she entered the kitchen, a light-hearted gameshow was playing that
Her lover had left on as they were eating breakfast. Almost
Instinctively, she turned on the news. She was shocked by the
Large increase in cases of this supposed “worldwide crisis” she was
Encouraged to ignore.

The lips of the supposed lying policymakers moved in harmony with the
Havoc that was wreaking in the world. It didn’t seem like the slope of the inevitable
Events was evening out. She grew

Worried. “Stay at home” they said, “to ensure this is
Over before we know it.” She thought back to what her lover said, that this is
Really getting out of hand. But she couldn’t listen to his words anymore. She had
Looked over this issue, but the casualties and the
Days kept coming and kept growing; no one knew how long it would

Last. For hours, she watched. For hours, she investigated. For hours, she read. None of her questions were
Answered. Each answer she wanted was deflected by her lover’s words; that the stories were
Untrue, that publicity was the only thing on their minds. She felt sick,
Grossed out by how wrong he was. She never wanted to leave her
House again.
Stay at home order.

All seems to be going well for the next week. Out of nowhere, in the middle of
The day, she gets a call. It’s from the hospital. The young

Man on the phone said, “Your lover, he’s sick.” “He’s been fine for days” she asked. “He wasn’t taking precautions, and
Ended up contracting coronavirus. He’ll have to be quarantined. I’m sorry.” She hung up. She wasn’t sorry; she was right.

When asked about the inspiration for this piece, Amy said, “I wrote this poem in April 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, one month after my high school cancelled in-person classes for the foreseeable future. A lot of people not just around the country but around the world were getting infected and dying from it, yet people still had their doubts about it and said it was “no big deal”. For instance: as soon as my high school cancelled classes, I heard a bunch of students say “Hell yeah, now we can hang out and party all we want!” This upset me because I couldn’t understand why they weren’t taking this pandemic seriously, either by attending parties or not wearing a mask in public (or even both). The poem is about a woman, who is taking the pandemic and all the warnings that go along with it seriously, and her lover, who thinks it’s all just for publicity and politics and is convinced nothing will happen to him. Her thoughts are in turmoil because she doesn’t know who to believe: the news reports or her lover. When her lover contracts coronavirus, she realizes she was right and that karma got the best of him. The point I was trying to make with this poem is that the havoc wreaking on this world due to COVID-19 is miserable for all of us, and it is irritating and ignorant for people to not be cautious and laugh about it being “all that bad”. Sure, it can be political at times, but that doesn’t negate the fact that everyone must do their part to eradicate the spread of COVID-19 so the havoc wreaking on this world can come to an end.”