I work as an orientation leader for my college, and the job included summer housing.
College housing is a must for me, as I come from a toxic home thanks to my father and sister. Don't get me wrong, I genuinely wanted to be an orientation leader... but I really needed alternate living conditions. It wasn't until mid-March when we were told we had two days to move off of campus that I found myself eating my words and packing to go live with my parents.
I'm from New York City, which was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time, so I didn't want to go back there anyway. I certainly didn't want to be around either of my parents in fear of getting them sick. My father has high blood pressure, making him high-risk for developing worse coronavirus symptoms. What a chump I was, fearing so much for his well-being.
Being in an awful situation won't make awful people stop being awful.
With my appeal to stay on campus denied and summer orientation going online, I had no other choice. I reassured myself that being with my family was the right thing to do. Despite the global pandemic going on, my father and sister were just as miserable to be around. Top that with the extended period of self-isolation, I was a wreck. It wasn't until everything culminated with a fight between me and my sister in which she showed me that I had enough.
My boyfriend saved me.
My boyfriend, who I'll call Tim, and I are in a long-distance relationship. He attends graduate school in Western New York while I go to school on Long Island. He let me stay at his house with his roommates until I had to go back to school. I was staying as his guest, so I didn't have to pay rent. I just helped pay for groceries. Tim took care of me. He made sure I had food I liked, a place to work remotely, and space to keep my clothes so I wasn't living out of a suitcase the whole summer. While living together was temporary, it still came with the challenges of learning new things about each other. In spite of it all, I fell in love with learning how Tim worked.
Everything was going fine until the end of July. Tim's roommate, who I'll call Joe, was going on vacation to South Carolina, which was one of the hot-spot states on Gov. Cuomo's list. Not to see a dying family member. Not for work. Just for funsies. His plan was to get tested for COVID-19 on the day he got back at a site where he would get same-day results. If he tested negative, he would be allowed to go back to work. He did not intend to self-isolate for 14 days. When I asked Joe what his plan was if he tested positive, he told me he would stay with his parents, which confused me because my parents would be the last people I'd want to see if I had COVID-19.
Since I wasn't paying rent, I was powerless.
I had to go back to school in two weeks at that point. If Joe got sick, I would be stuck in the house and not able to go home. I was angry that his job was letting him come back to work based on a test result one day into what should be a two-week quarantine. I was scared that Tim would get sick, especially because he and Joe worked at the same place. I didn't want to go home, not only for obvious reasons but also because my time with Tim would have to come to an end so abruptly.
At the same time, I couldn't knowingly stay in a situation where Joe would be so careless. Even if the risk for contracting coronavirus was small, it could still end up being a much more serious ordeal, regardless of how healthy I was. With no vaccine to date, I didn't want to take any chances. My mom was already sad I was going to be so far away for so long, I couldn't break her heart anymore. I had to leave.
I put myself first, and it all worked out.
I ended up being able to stay with my cousins. I'm proud of myself for doing the right thing. I don't regret leaving, even though it was very tempting to stay with the love of my life for longer and hope for the best. I'm having a great time with my cousins, but I miss doing life with Tim. I miss his smell and watching him fold shirts a lot nicer than I do. I'm angry that Joe interrupted Tim and my time together. I'll never forgive him if he gets my Tim sick. As of writing this, the two-week period is not up. So far, no one in Tim's house has gotten sick, and Tim is supposed to help me move into college on the day quarantine should have ended. I hope I'll be seeing him soon.
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