By Fanta Ballo, age 18

They asked me how does it feel to know that I am living in a moment of history
And to be honest, at first, didn’t really occur to me
That in a decade from now my experience will be a DBQ question on the global regents
And they’ll have to write an essay about what they read
And luckily I can keep my pen to myself cause I already seen it
And some days I go to sleep, wake up and feel like I’m dreaming
I’ve become numb to pandemics, wars and disasters happening abroad
I took my life for granted
Forgot how much of a privilege it was to live in America
To wake up every day and have an outside to go to
The privilege of breathing in air fresh enough to keep you alive
Parks became the staple for adolescents in the community to play
And no one ever questioned the park cause it was always there
School was always there
Food was always there
We almost always had it good in comparison
Now that I think about it, it’s really embarrassing
We were safe in this bubble
But today we‘re not
Today we realize that we are no better than any other country
We are no better than any other citizen
The virus is coming for the rich and the poor
For the hospitals and grocery stores
And years from now
children will read about this moment and wonder what it was like for us
For the people who lived through a widespread pandemic
The pandemic that made the city that never sleeps? Sleep
How the things we took for granted suddenly became a necessity.
Ain’t it funny how we were told that we rely way too much on technology
Now technology has become the only thing we can rely on
Having to codeswitch between our friends and our professors
We slide from zoom to zoom like a python
Hearts shatter by millions of seniors who will not get to commence
Not get to walk down that aisle and get the honorary paper that will let them know their years meant something
Them late nights in the library meant something
Them student loans meant something
Cause in all of this we’ve seemed to have forgot something that I am hoping is written in them history books
Before anything else we are human
And as scary as this virus is, it knows what it’s doing
Reminding us that in the inside we are all the same
We all deserve this thing called life and if we take it for granted
It can be stripped away any second
Cause life works in circles
I guess that’s the roundabout way of saying one day we will all be gone
Some of us fortunate enough to be more than just a statistic in a history book
The most famous of us will have a street or school named in our honor
But the most important won’t be the ones who made billions and prospered
it will be the ones who lived every day with love
It will be the ones who lend the helping hand to those who needed it the most
It would be the heroes that didn’t wear capes
It will be the ones who went the extra step to save humanity
It will be the ones that were asked “how does it feel to know that you are living in a moment of history?”
And they will answer didn’t really think about it.

Thank you.

Fanta’s story was written in our quaranTEEN voices virtual program. Help support the unique voices of our young authors by sharing their stories and making a donation on our website! To receive notices about opportunities for your child, sign up for our youth writing opportunities newsletter.