Suddenly — seemingly out of nowhere — concerned parents in every corner of the country are screaming and asking, “What about our kids’ education?” The debate surrounding reopening schools is contentious and exposes every systemic flaw in public education. Parents are bringing up inequity and inequality. They are discussing special education, mental health, social and emotional development of children. They are asking questions about legalities, taxes, and unions. They are concerned. They are extremely concerned.

They have all become experts in pedagogy, educational policy, economics, epidemiology, and virology. …

Have you noticed? The world is on fire. The virus is lurking, it’s spreading its tentacles, it’s shedding its skin, it’s slithering into perfect lives, disrupting routines, exploding in living rooms furnished with white, tufted couches and oriental rugs. It’s bequeathing sparks of chaos, which ignite unexpectedly. It’s created discomfort, inflamed fear, ignited the rise of vile and dangerous conspiracy theories. It’s exacerbated panic, aggravated chaos. It forced us to a halt.

It’s been around for a long time. Always waiting, striking whenever, pouncing steadily.

The rise of extremism, sexism, racism, every ism. Synagogues burned, Jewish cemeteries defaced, rabbis taunted and harassed in the streets. Believers gunned down in their places of worship, assaulted and shot in broad daylight. White Nationalism soaring, seeping into everyday normalcy. Women raped. Women harassed. Women thrown from buildings. Women denied opportunities, called bitches, dm’d rape threats and dick pics. Rapists have been protected and appointed judges. Rapists doing standup in Philadelphia. Incels rising and spreading their wings, infecting others with their ideology. Burrowing into the core of society. Reading fluff pieces about themselves in the New York Times and enjoying being seen, feeling validated and important. Protections eradicated and erased from the LGBTQ community. Dimissed from serving. Can’t identify without repercussion. Deeper hatred of trans people. Deeper rejection of understanding, a rebellion against openness and acceptance. …

When I embrace my mom, my body melts into her warmth. My forehead nestles in her arm and the weight of everything slowly dissipates and floats far away into an unknown abyss, with the rest of the worries, the nightmares, the little fires. When she hugs me, sounds fizzle and fade into the mist of calm. She’ll run her fingers through my hair, and I temporarily forget everything that was. She smells like home, like my childhood, like crepes and shampoo. I want to hug her soon.

My dad’s strong cologne and aftershave — his brand, roams my parents’ home, whispers “come in.” His quick words and self-deprecating jokes lighten the depths of the foggy corridors. He teases and I retort. We laugh so hard we shatter the core of the Earth and burn away the ashes. …


Dina Ley

I write because it’s the only way for me to say what I really want to say. Also, because I can.