Have You Heard of This Beautiful City Surrounded By Death?

Jermaine Hall
LEVEL
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2 min readApr 2, 2020

Dear Level Readers,

In a gorgeous town called Reggiana, people are dying. Many people. It’s probably not that much different from your town. It’s lost its bustle, yes. But there’s a shit-ton going on in all that quiet. Reggiana is at the mercy of a terrible disease called the Visitation. A traveler stops through and experiences this town where people wake up and run to the obit section of the newspaper. I’ll stop there as I feel like I’ve already told you too much.

Teju Cole’s short story “City of Pain” might be fiction, but it gets to the heart of what we’re feeling in the face of Covid-19. The messenger delivers this narrative from a glass half full viewpoint. We can all use that perspective right now. In all the chaos that you will experience today, tomorrow, for the foreseeable future, take some time to read this gentle story.

To be transparent, I wrote this at 2:24am. Yesterday was filled with anxiety as I began processing things like death count, inevitably knowing someone who has succumbed to the virus, and being fully aware that Black and Brown casualties will be substantial.

I’ve had better days. So I opened the laptop and read this story again. It brought me calm. I hope it can do that for you.

Jermaine Hall, Editor in Chief

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Jermaine Hall
LEVEL
Writer for

Jermaine Hall is a digital publishing executive. When he’s not running his two sons and wife from place to place he’s watching Lakers games.