They’ve told me that I should be on the look out for signs of depression. That it is common after trauma. And I have had a few days that left me down. Very down. Usually, at moments I took one step forward and two back. But today, I awoke with an overwhelming sense of optimism.
The sun is shining. And yesterday morning , Jeff reorganized our entire apartment. I supervised, of course. But he did the heavy lifting and sorting, and now, after nearly 7 weeks, we are like a well-oiled machine of efficiency. Lean and mean. Everything has a place and it’s all where is should be. Suddenly, El Compartemento seems bigger – even with the physical therapy studio Jeff set up in the dining room. He’s kitted it out and I have all I need to do my prescribed exercises in one spot. Although yesterday I did a bit too many, and El Jefe wasn’t happy with me. But I have good reason for pushing myself.
We got the word last night from our Prime Minister. They have a plan to phase us back into ‘a state of normality’. And like most places in the world (other than the US), the ground floor of this plan is ‘Planta 0’. Yes, they will extend the state of alarm for two more weeks to May 23rd. But during that time, each region will assess where they are at and will follow strict guidelines set by the National Government. Each autonomous area will monitor the progression of the disease by the numbers, locally, and will progress through to Phase 1-3, where they will hold until all regions of the country are at Phase 3 at the same time for two weeks. Then we will all be in ‘Normality’. Only then will we be able to travel outside our home provinces. They believe this will take up to 8 weeks – until end of June or beginning of July. We’re particularly interested in this as we have a house to look at in Galica. Although our criteria has changed a bit. We are asking ourselves a new question ‘Would you want to quarantine in this house, on this property, for 8 weeks or longer?’ So this experience has changed our perspective on what we would want. And with the consequences of climate change rushing towards us all – it’s probably a good thing to keep in mind. One thing is for sure, we will not quarantine, ever again, in an apartment in a city – that I can promise you.
And in other news – from Saturday we will be allowed to leave our apartment to walk together (if we are a family) or to do individual exercise – like biking or running or power walking at a social distance. They will give us all the details tomorrow on what restrictions will be in place during this first experiment during Phase 0. Yes! The day is swiftly approaching and this is why I am pushing myself in my therapy. I don’t want to miss it. The moment when we can start to feel like normal again – even if we’re masked and gloved up.
I’ve already picked out my new mask for the occasion. For Valentine’s Day I bought Jeff some boxer shorts with hearts on them. He’s not a boxers kind of guy so it was just for fun and he never wore them. But he put them to good use and made me a mask from them. I will be wearing my hearts boxer shorts mask, complete with elastic stolen from some business-class eye masks. I knew there was a reason I’ve been hoarding them all these years. You couldn’t even get elastic on the Amazon.es during this time – Jeff tried. So when I got home I directed him to my stash and said he could take what he wanted. He’s been busy putting the elastic to good use ever since. To celebrate the occasion on Saturday, I will wear hearts to go down stairs to the bench on the street.
This morning, I sit on the balcony writing this and I think how much I have to be grateful for in my life. When we were kids, my brother, Todd, used to say I was the luckiest person – that I won everything – the cake at the carnival, the Bubble Yum bubble-blowing contest, a bike in a coloring contest, and the like. He was right, but not for all the contest stuff. I’ve been very lucky on any given day in the last 53 and half years. So many moments of joy that cost nothing. I’m even grateful for the pain, and the lessons that came with it, because it all coalesced to this moment – sitting here – drinking my cafe con leche de cabra con cardomon. Looking at the bluest sky in the world on a warm spring morning on the Mediterranean. Waving at neighbors on balconies across the way, whom I’ve never met in person. I think they believe I’m crazy because this is not done in Valencia. I thought of putting up a sign on the balcony saying ‘Yes, I’m your crazy American neighbor.’ But after many weeks, they wave back so it seems the sign wasn’t necessary.
We are lucky to have survived this – all of us who still take breaths on this planet. Things will never be the same – nor should they. A smile is no longer just a smile because we can only see each other’s eyes above our masks. The laughter of a child is now the music it should have been all along. A walk down the street is a precious gift, and the freedom to perform this miracle should never be taken for granted again. We have come through a war and are entering a cease fire. Hoping the peace – when it finally comes – will be as sweet as we dreamed. The absence of sirens will tell us it’s here. I pray humanity stops fighting after this, and never forgets how much we need each other to survive and thrive. And that every day we have so much to be grateful for.