words and photos by Ilenia Pezzaniti
Anna Yoho, 26, is sitting on her porch in Highland Square, drinking a beer with her friend Brandon Craddock who is 25. Her son, Jeremiah, is playing nearby. “I’ve been out of a job since they closed the restaurants. We’re just antsy. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, to see what people do and how people will respond,” she says.
Anna hasn’t been able to pay rent because of her job loss.
“As far as it goes here, I’m taking care of kids, whoever needs me to. We’re out here a lot, just outside at least. [We] go out on walks. I used to serve 50 hours a week and now I’m standing still,” she says.
Anna has had a lot of anxiety surrounding the loss of her job due to the pandemic and walks a lot to quell her nerves. “What else can we do? No one has answers. You keep looking at people, plus the government, and everyone’s going, ‘Just sit’ — OK, thanks. I haven’t sat in nine years, but OK,’” she says.
Anna’s son, Jeremiah, who is six and a half, is making his rounds up and down the porch stairs, chiming in to the conversation sweetly here and there. He’s on the spectrum, Anna explains. Through tears, she tells me, “It’s hard. It’s sad to raise him in this.”
However, she adds, “It is what it is. There’s worse things it [the pandemic] could do. I’m a stay-at-home mom now,” she said.
When asked how it’s been having his mom home, Jeremiah said it’s been “Perfect. [We] built some puzzles and right now I’m just playing with my cars.”
Though Anna’s grateful to be with her son, there are adjustments to get used to. “I’m home with him, but it’s just — we’re used to a routine,” Anna said.
Her friend, Brandon, says his life hasn’t changed nearly as much. Not being able to get pizza has been the most he’s been affected by the pandemic. “I do Postmates, and my life is fine right now. My rent’s paid, everything’s good. But I make music and I couldn’t go into my studio,” he said. The owner of the apartment where his studio is located said they couldn’t have anyone else there besides those who live in the complex. “It’s not fun, but it’s really not that bad,” Brandon says, and adds that he’s been sleeping a lot better.
“The only time I really got worried is when I went to Walmart and they didn’t have ramen. So like that’s probably the start of the civil unrest, you know what I’m saying? I don’t know how bad this is going to get,” he says.
Ilenia Pezzaniti is a multimedia storyteller and artist living in Highland Square.