Adventure Coming of Age Fiction

Amanda lived on an island in the South Pacific all of her life. It was nice there, always sunny, always 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and it only rained at night. To most people, it would be Paradise. Yet, to Amanda, it was dull, boring, and tiresome. Amanda longed to be on the Mainland. She had read stories of such places as London England (also an island but lots more people and things to do), Paris France, New York USA. When Amanda turned 18 she decided to follow her dreams.

Amanda turned 18 in 2020. She graduated from high school and applied to attend University at Harvard. To her surprise, she was accepted there. Her mother said it was because the school had a diversity quota to fill and Amanda would be considered a minority. The brown-skinned girl didn't care how she got there, she was getting off the Island!

The island of Umalla was located in the middle of the South Pacific. The Islanders were self-sufficient and did not need outside contact. They had technology, and their education system was one of the best in the world. Few people visited, and few people left the island.

When Fall finally came, Amanda had her bags packed and was ready to go. Because of the reefs surrounding their island, the only way off was to take a boat out to a floating helicopter pad and then fly to a larger boat. As Amanda said goodbye to her friends and family, she couldn't get over a feeling of loss. Her goodbye to her elderly grandma, in particular, left her rather sad.

Amelia, Amanda's mother, begged the girl to stay. “Don't worry, Mama,” Amanda reassured the woman, “Thanksgiving break is a few short months away and I will be home visiting.” Amelia hugged her daughter as if it was the last time she would ever see her. She stroked the girl's long, black hair lovingly.

The boat was ready to go to the helicopter pad. Amanda hugged her friends and family one last time, then stepped into the outrigger. The helicopter was already waiting when she arrived. The pilot, dressed in an odd-looking uniform, handed Amanda a face mask and asked her to put it on before getting on the craft. Confused, the girl complied, then climbed into the machine. She got into her seat and waved goodbye to the place she had known her entire life.

Once on the ship, Amanda was told she needed to put on clothing similar to those worn by the pilot. The white coveralls were uncomfortable, but everyone else was wearing them and Amanda did not want to cause problems. It also included a face mask and face shield. She was shown a room to stay in during the voyage and told she must wear the coveralls at all times she is not in the room. At the entrance to the room was a funny machine that hissed every time someone entered the room. The word “disinfectant” was written on the machine. Amanda wondered why it was there.

Meals were served in the cabins. Someone from the kitchen would call the room and ask what items were desired for the meal. The food was then delivered to the room and placed on a table waiting at the entrance. They called it room service and Amanda thought it was fun, to begin with, but soon she missed interacting with other people during her meal.

The voyage took 3 days to travel from the South Pacific to Boston Harbor. Once at the harbor, Amanda was required to go through customs. Still wearing the white coveralls she had been given on the boat, Amanda stood in line at customs waiting to be admitted into the United States.

When it was her turn to speak to the person in a blue coverall outfit who sat behind a Plexiglas barrier, Amanda could barely contain her excitement. She handed the woman her passport, as well as the paperwork showing she had a student visa. The woman looked at the passport, then looked at Amanda with alarm. “Where are you from?” she asked.

“Umalla” Amanda replied.

“Where is that?” the official asked.

Amanda could hear a little bit of concern in the woman's voice. “In the South Pacific,” Amanda replied.

The woman then checked a list. “It's not here,” she said. “Your island is not listed as anyplace where the virus has been.”

“What virus?” Amanda asked, growing concerned.

“SARS-CoV-2. Please tell me you've heard about it.” Amanda shook her head. “Hey David,” the official yelled,” we have a clean one here.”

Amanda was rushed into a room where there were lots of equipment. She was directed into a plastic room and told to stay there while she was decontaminated. Meanwhile, the officials called Harvard and let them know one of their incoming freshmen came from an island that had never been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and would need some special accommodations to attend school. Arrangements were made and Amanda was told to go to a special van where she would be transported to Harvard University.

Amanda looked in awe at the buildings she passed on her way to the University. She passed museums, shops, houses, and restaurants. She could barely stay in her seat. Then the van stopped and some people wearing red coveralls, face masks, and face shields came to meet her. Some people took her belongings while a different one ushered her into the building.

A dorm room had been prepared for Amanda. Her belongings were placed in it. A kind, older woman dressed in a red coverall, face mask, and face shield then proceeded to inform Amanda what was going on. She explained to Amanda about SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, how dangerous it was, how contagious it was, and what plans were put in place to protect people from it. “Since you come from a region of the world where the virus hasn't been yet, we need to take extra measures to ensure your safety. You will be eating all your meals here in your dorm room, attending all of your classes virtually, if you go out you must be wearing your containment suit at all times, and interacting with people only via videotelephony software. There is absolutely no physical contact with anyone. And darling, I am sorry to inform you, but you can never return to your island home as long as SARS-CoV-2 is still contagious.”

Amanda had lived on an island her entire life. She had found it dull, boring, and tiresome. Now it would be Paradise.

March 05, 2021 04:10

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