SCO Youth Council’s #StayHome Contest Round 2 Winning Submission

Miigwetch and congratulations to Chloe Wesley of Poplar River First Nation for your beautiful short story submission to the SCO Youth Council Contest Round 2—the Youth Council and SCO wish you the best in all of your endeavours!

It was a cloudy March day in the town of Morris. There was a girl with light brown skin and long dark hair looking out of the window of her classroom. She was indeed very tired and was excited for this class to finally end so that she could go home. However, she seemed to dread the idea of walking home when all she had was her green bomber jacket. It had been previously warmer in the day so she didn’t count on slight cold rain.

“Olivia! You getting’ work done?” her blue-eyed teacher asked her from across the room. Her teacher was a younger woman, maybe twenty-eight but had a passion for hockey and law. The girl—Olivia, had jolted slightly but nodded with a small yet polite smile.

“Yeah,” she responded. Olivia was always a person of very little words. However, what she lacked in speaking, she made up for in writing and making art.

“Okay, kiddo, just making sure,” her teacher said before the woman turned back to her laptop.

Olivia turned her head back to her paper before beginning to sketch again. She was excited for the school year to be over so she could enjoy summer break. The girl put her earbuds in before beginning to smile to herself over the thought of a summer vacation.

It was now the early month of May. The weather was very pleasant and the sun shone beautifully. Of course, this would be the perfect weather to go to the park or mall but the COVID-19 pandemic made it hard to do much. Olivia rubbed her eyes as she looked out the window to the small dyke with train tracks just feet away from her house.

The last time Olivia went to school was late March. Now, it had been over a month since she had been to school. It was very strange for her to transition at first but she grew to appreciate the extra time she got to sleep. Online classes were very easy as well. She felt as though she got more work done with her laptop than she did in school.

“Games and… art,” she mumbled to herself. Her days at that point consisted of playing on her PS4 and drawing.

Olivia sighed as she looked out the window. It was a strange day yet she didn’t know what felt so off about it. At times, she felt like she didn’t really want to continue with her education. The girl struggled at math and didn’t see it as necessary for her future art career. But it was mandatory, right? The girl took her vibrating phone out of her pocket before reading the name on the phone. It was her older sister, Wesley.

“Hello?” She answered.

“Hey, Olivia. It’s been forever!”, the woman said. Wesley was about twenty-five and worked in accounting.

“Oh, yeah, haha! It really has been. How are you?” she asked. It wasn’t often they spoke because of their busy schedules with work and school.

Wesley asked, “I’m great. How’s school since this whole quarantine thing happened?”

“Oh, it’s, uh… I dunno. I’m starting to think that school isn’t’ for me. It’s very boring.”, said Olivia.

“Really? Oh, I was the same when I was your age. It takes time to realize how important education is with your maturity.”

“I guess. I just wanna draw. Not solve triangles or whatever to pay for pizza in the future.”

“Oh, Olivia… I know this coronavirus pandemic isn’t ideal. I know that school work is very confusing but it’s just the way the world works. I wish things were different but it’s not our time for when well… society and laws will change. Right now, you must get these credits,” her sister said, before pausing and thinking of a sentence.

“Your future self is depending on you to get through high-school. Without your diploma, you can’t really do anything. And when the time comes you wanna move out, you gotta pay for many things. Your tuition, or the band will cover that. However, there’s food costs, the hydro, city taxes, transportation, and wifi for your video games.”,  said Wesley.

“I didn’t think of it that way. I guess you’re right,” Olivia responded to her.

Wesley said, “Art supplies too. And you need a part-time job for those things. Most of these part-time jobs need a diploma. Point is, you gotta fight through this. I know exactly how you feel. You’re also Indigenous so it’s important you prove all these racial stereotypes wrong.”

“I wanna go big with my art though…” she said.

“Then work towards that in college. Make connections. You also gotta obey social distancing. It may seem bad but you can take advantage of this by staying on top of your work by social distancing. Get ahead,” Wesley said as Olivia smiled.

“You’re right—wait, I gotta go. I gotta shower up and do a Google Meet with my math teacher. Trig and stuff.”, she said.

“Okay, work hard. See you, love you.” the woman said.

“Love you too,” Olivia said as she hung up.

The girl slid her phone back into her pocket before looking out the window again. She thought about what her sister said before realizing. Olivia never really thought that far ahead. It became very clear what she had to do. She gathered her work and set it up before her shower. It all became so clear now.

The pandemic was tough but she knew she had to get her work done. One of the pros of this pandemic was that she could do her work in the best way she could. Alone and inside her room. It obeyed social distancing rules and benefits her.

The future was uncertain but with her sister’s wisdom, Olivia was going to work towards her future. Maybe the time had passed where she was a clueless teenager but she was ready to embrace the unknown future. The work she did was important for her future anyways. She swore right then and there she would get that diploma. No matter what life threw at her.