Without You Guys

Returning to campus doesn’t mean a return to normal; in reality, it’s far from it in the empty halls and quiet rooms.

Amariah Nielsen, Reporter

I walk down the hallway, turning into the lunch room where I’m greeted by empty space. A void that used to be filled with teeming bodies, smiling faces and energy.  

I always thought that we would be hanging out in the library before school or walking to lunch together all the way through senior year. But like the old saying goes: “things don’t always happen the way we want.” 

Now, instead of hanging out or chatting during lunch, you guys are sitting at home behind computer screens while I sit at an empty table wishing this year was different. 

“Hey you!”

Two girls in sweats and oversized hoodies enter the cafeteria and walk past my table where their friend had been waiting. I can’t help but feel a cold sting as they sit down together.   

Without you guys, the cafeteria feels like a giant black hole. The walls that once kept us together are now stark and barren. As I stare at the empty chairs in front of me, I realize just how much I miss the conversations we used to have together. 

In the past, it didn’t matter if we didn’t have classes together because we could always count on lunch to be able to talk face to face. Being able to see you guys was what made school bearable for me.

As I wait for the dismal bell I decide to text the group chat. I don’t know when you’ll see my message, but it feels good to know we can still reach out to each other. 

The bell rings and I walk to class alone, thinking about last year and how we used to laugh together before going our separate ways. I remember walking into class with a grin on my face, feeling ready to take on whatever tests or assignments that needed to be done for the period. But now, I don’t feel motivated enough to even make it through the front door. Now, I feel sluggish and grey because I know when I go to school, I’m alone. 

I’m not the only one who feels this way. When the school first offered virtual classes as an alternative to being at the school, people joined to stay away from the virus. But now, more than half the school has switched to online learning. Not because they’re scared of getting sick, but because school isn’t the same without their friends. Because school doesn’t have purpose without the people they know. 

As I take my seat, my phone screen lights up as you guys respond to my text. Someone sends a smiley emoji. I know it’s not much, but that makes me smile, too.