“Dispatch from a Pandemic: Cleveland, Ohio” by Emma Limoli

zhang art
Cheese, Morgaine

My CEO called me directly, I knew it was coming. But I hadn’t anticipated that it would come for me so swiftly.

sam.coronadotsI’m sorry. We have to lay people off. We’ve lost so much money. I’m really sorry. You’ll be OK, there’s unemployment.

My insides froze.

My vision blurred.

I’d never been laid off.

What do I do now?

Day twenty of quarantine went like this:

My alarm went off and I ignored it.

I lay in bed staring at my phone.

Well into mid-morning, I went for a run.

Sometimes I showered.

Sometimes I ate.

I searched for a job to no avail.

I checked my unemployment status– pending.

Too many news articles were consumed.

I waited for a stimulus check that I doubted would come.

During the lost moments, I floundered.

Day forty-four of quarantine goes like this:

I wake up before my alarm.

I do some yoga.

I eat and shower.

My unemployment status is denied. After waiting an hour to speak to someone, I’m told, The system has broken down, and nothing can be done. Call back.

The wind creeps in through the open windows causing the doors to slam. Outside, the birds fly up, up, and away. My phone buzzes with like-minded people who are as frustrated and lonely as I am.

I belittle my emotions because everyone else is going through the same thing.

Again, I file for unemployment and begin the process over. They say it’ll take three to four more weeks and I wonder what life will look like then.

I know the world will be different.

I know I’ll be different.

When I open my eyes on day seventy-two, I know my brain will take a minute to catch up. I’ll eventually get out of bed and the day will continue forward, as I will with the reminder that this is not the end.

–April 29, 2020


limoli Emma Limoli enjoys exploring different worlds through writing and reading.  As a world traveler, she’s been influenced by those she’s met abroad. An avid hiker and taco lover, Emma is currently waiting out the storm in Ohio until her next big adventure. This is her first published work.