Do you have COVID?? 

The text vibration seems to echo like a gunshot through the quiet hum of Carnegie Library. My fingers flick over the phone screen with a feverish rush.

No, do you?

Oh god. Please no. Not right now.

I don’t know, but someone who was at tennis on Sunday just tested positive.

My friend’s response comes even faster than mine. I count back the days in my head. Sunday was four days ago. I just got tested this morning. I’m supposed to go home in three days. 

Oh god. Please no. Not right now.

The hush of the study room crushes me into my chair. It is nearly empty except for two girls, each sitting at a lonely table. Their eyes stay focused on the computer screens and notebooks in front of them.

Why aren’t they panicking? They should be panicking too. No, they can’t know. Oh my god, what if they know? I can’t spend two weeks alone in the Sheraton! I just want to see my mom. Oh my god, I have to call my mom.

The chair squeaks across the polished wooden floor as I jolt upward. I shove my things into my backpack and scurry to the sanitizing station. Everything needs to be wiped down. I wipe the table, the chair, the desk lamp, the sticker that warns about social distancing. Neither of the two girls have looked up.

Oh god. Please no. Not right now.

Molly Matheson is a sophomore at Syracuse studying environmental engineering. She loves anything involving the outdoors, including writing about it.