ASHLEY FLORES WRITES – COVID-19 is like an ex-boyfriend you’d  try to avoid at all cost, but somehow can’t get rid of.  He’s persistent and insists on being part of your life. . Who does he think he is? 

He’s  serious, he’s  not a joker, and he’s  breaking my heart.

At first, he – COVID-19, that is – seemed like a stranger who was far away. A person who had been killing and hurting people. A person I did not want to know. After causing people pain abroad, he made his way to the United States. While here he took a tour of Washington, deciding that Seattle was so enjoyable he would stay. Then he went on a run through New York’s famous Central Park, and stayed. 

He arrived in Los Angeles a few weeks ago to enjoy the glorious palm trees, the tan California girls, broad beaches and magnificent sun. And so, my friends and I were sent home from work and college.  It hurt, but I made my peace with it and knew he would soon leave. 

Not true. Not yet. He’s like an ex-boyfriend that we try to avoid, but can’t seem to get rid of. 

 It hurts to be distant from our loved ones and friends while he explores our great city, but Los Angelenos (as our mayor calls us, the residents of LA) have been strong. 

My parents, like all parents, have always tried to protect me from harm.  My dad, (a handsome, not so tall, hardworking Mexican-American), immigrated to this country in order to give me a better life. He is on  the front line, at Ralph’s grocery store. Most of my family and family friends are either delivering or working at large grocery stores. Those stores  don’t seem to give a damn about the working class. Have you seen (if you’ve been outside) a single grocery worker wearing a face mask? NO. They’re not allowed to. The people in charge  permit more than the allowed for 10 people in the store, but  act like everything is normal. My dad is NOT ALLOWED TO PROTECT HIMSELF! Are you kidding me? The numbers your company produces are more important than the lives of the people that MAKE THIS COUNTRY? Are you serious?

It’s 12:11am, April 5th. My  mom is really religious, so I just finished praying for the third time today. My dad just got home from another long shift. We sat and ate dinner. Yes, we waited, this late, to be with him. And guess what? My dad just broke the news to us that my nasty ex, COVID-19,  put two of our closest family friends in the hospital- a father, a friend and immigrant who time and time again risked his life to provide a grocery store service to you and me, but did not have the support from the company he has worked 20+years for-and his daughter-a sister, a student and a friend who deserves to live a life that was just getting started. I knew COVID was killing and hurting people, but I never thought he would hurt or maybe, even, kill one of my own. 

Yes, COVID-19 is our tormenting  ex, one who does not belong in our lives and one whom we cannot completely get rid of without mutual support and being there, 6-feet apart, for one another. 

Our government has failed us. 

Be mindful. Be kind. Spread love and let’s get through this together. I want us to live. We’re trying to dodge COVID, as best we can, and I hope you are too.

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