Devin and I arranged all 465 cranes on the dining table, overlapping so they would fit, and took our final photos. The reaction online was warm after we posted the images; many people congratulated us on getting vaccinated and some suggested I donate the cranes to a museum as a memento of the pandemic. For now, our cranes are carefully stored in a box until I decide what we should do with them.
Of course, it’s premature to say that the pandemic is over — the Delta variant is causing caseloads to rise again and several countries around the world have had their worst outbreaks yet. The U.S. death toll has passed 600,000. The global figure exceeds four million. The virus could continue to mutate and remain with us for years to come, making it impossible to declare an official end. But what’s given me comfort is focusing on my family and what’s within our control.
After 465 days of isolation, we celebrated our freedom by having our first indoor restaurant meal in 15 months. We’ve slowly started to venture out and see our friends and we have tickets to an outdoor concert in August. Ultimately, when I look at the cranes now, boxed up, they exist to me as a symbol of hope and resilience and of what still remains. Each one represents a day we survived.
Grace Loh Prasad is a Taiwanese American writer based in the Bay Area.