SEU student Nicco Pelicano reflects on last normal day before pandemic


Nicco Pelicano / Hilltop Views

Pelicano’s friends were excited to have extra time to spend with their loved ones, but the situation at hand quickly escalated.

My last normal day was a week after spring break. I had come home to New Braunfels to stay with my family and attend my high school friend’s wedding. All of my old friends were in town, and we were excited to have another free week, courtesy of COVID-19.

I drove to my best friend Cody’s house and we hung out with another one of our friends, Ben. I wanted to show them one of my favorite movies called “5-7,” which is about an aspiring writer who falls in love with an older French woman who is allowed to have an affair between the hours of 5 to 7 in the afternoon.

My friends read the description and teased me for wanting to watch such a strange movie, so we ended up watching “Creep” instead, which I did not find scary at all. My friend Cody told me that it would have been scarier in the dark.

We drove uptown and met up with another one of our married friends from high school at Sonic. I ordered a strawberry limeade and we sat at a picnic table under a tree while it got dark. We were talking about COVID-19 and how our city was issuing a lockdown the next day. One of our friends told us they were going to self-isolate because their husband worked in a hospital and wanted to keep their families safe.

That was the moment when I realized that things were more serious than I thought, and that this was my last day of my freedom. 

As we were leaving, Ben asked me if I wanted to ride back with him on his motorcycle, and after hesitating, I ended up going with him. I had never ridden a motorcycle before, and I only decided to because I knew that this night needed to be memorable.

Sitting on the back of a motorcycle felt freeing, like the last day of summer. The ride encouraged me to be a little bit reckless and forget about my anxiety. It allowed me to live in the moment, because I didn’t want to isolate myself sooner than I had to. 

I watched my friends play video games before we decided to get snacks at the gas station down the street. We drove with the windows down, blasting the song “80’s Film” by Jon Bellion. We walked into the gas station, maskless, and ironically bought Corona beer. 

We snuck our beer into the house because of my friend’s strict parents, and we ran up the stairs to his room where we watched movies till 3 a.m., when I finally drove to my house up the road. 

Driving home felt like I was trying to outrun a storm that had felt so far away earlier that day. It was a storm that would keep me cooped up in my mom’s house until the fall. I didn’t know I was driving towards that, and leaving behind my last normal day.