“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”Winston Churchill
Maybe it was not quite as dramatic as all that. But today is a day that shall live in Infamy! Stop! Kelli. Just stop with the WWII references. OK, I’ll back up a bit.
We went to bed last night knowing we would be able to leave our apartment for 1 hour today – sometime, either in the period from 6-10 am or 8-11 pm. So much freedom to choose. But ever since they announced a couple of days ago that Phase 0 would include a daily walk or individual exercise for adults, we’ve been counting down the hours.
‘Just imagine.’ I told Jeff only yesterday. ‘This time tomorrow we will have been out of this apartment for a full hour.’ He smiled.
He was chatting with someone from the US yesterday. ‘When it’s 9 pm your time, think of me. It will be 6 am here and we’ll be leaving our apartment and going out.’ This is how I knew he was excited.
We barely slept. I got up at 2 am to find Jeff in the living room sitting on the sofa looking out the window. I sat down for a bit with him and then went back to bed. When I got up again at 5:45 he was sitting in the living room fully dressed. He’d picked out his clothes the night before and put them in the office so he wouldn’t wake me – in case I wanted to sleep in.
I got dressed – I can do that now by myself! – and we donned our masks and headed out into the darkness; breaching the front door of our building is like being reborn. Yes, we’ve gone to my Dr. appointments in the car from the parking garage in the basement (complete with scary checkpoints) but not left our building through the front door of the lobby, onto the street, in a very long time. The freedom to just wander for nearly two months now has been elusive. Suddenly, we could go anywhere! Well, not really, since we’re limited to 1 km from our home address and that would be a stretch for me. But it felt good nonetheless.
The sidewalks have been washed down with bleach so many times in the last few weeks that they’re almost white. Years of grime and dog poo are long gone. Jeff had mapped out our route in advance, taking into consideration distances between benches or short walls where I could sit and rest. I was determined to be strong enough to make it to the Jardin del Real. I knew it would be closed – particularly at that time of the morning – but I wanted to see the park through the fence. The rose garden in full bloom, the big fountain, and peacocks.
‘We’ve got all the time in the world.’ He reminded me – except we only had one hour. ‘We’ll take it slow.’
As we made our way there – with care – the sky started to turn purple, then red and pink as the sun rose over the horizon. The air was thick with orange blossoms and other flowers. Flocks of green parrots, who live in our trees, squawked and flew overhead. Greeting us with a chorus of ‘Welcome Back!’ I feel sure its what they were saying.
We passed el horno (the bakery) with a bench out in front. Jeff suggested we sit and rest a bit. The baker was inside and the smell was heavenly. We sat in silence taking deep breaths. Our stomachs growling. Only a few more blocks to go.
Arriving at the fence surrounding the Jardin, we saw the garden is in full bloom. The scent of raspberry and lavender perfumed the morning air. Some of the roses need to be dead-headed. No humans there to enjoy their blooms. The trellises the city erected and planted our first Spring here have taken off, and by next Spring the tunnels they create will provide nice shade through the hot summer. Cats have taken over the garden and they were stalking each other and playing among the bushes. We stood to watch them, smiling, for as long as I could stand.
I was tired walking home but we made it back safe and sound. Sure, we could go out again, between 8 – 11 pm tonight. No one would know – except my exhausted body. The city has posted messages all over reminding us why it’s so important that we follow the guidance. For the benefit of all. Even though other’s seem to think it’s OK, apparently – as long as you don’t get caught.
We are on the other side of this – the city is starting to come to life, like awakening from a long slumber. Peeling back the curtain on this collective nightmare only to find such beauty right outside our doors.
‘That was so lovely, wasn’t it?’ I told Jeff when he settled me on the couch for a post adventure rest.
‘Yes, it was.’ He said smiling as he tucked the blanket in around me. ‘And just think – we get to do it again tomorrow.’
I went to sleep, smiling, for a much needed nap while thinking that just like last night, we have something more to look forward to.