The sun was shining, the birds were singing. The seagulls seemed to be having a party with all their joyful noise. The sea was sparkling blue and the wind was dancing, moving gently up and down the window’s canopy. That is when I saw her. On her balcony. Down below, meters from mine. I saw her. And she saw me. I smiled and she smiled back at me. I waved and she waved back. Then, she signed, and I signed back. And though I did’t exactly know what it was, I knew in my heart what she was saying, we are all in this together.
I saw her with her kids. Playing tea party, hugging a baby doll, and making silly faces and sounds. I saw her, loving her kids, trying to make the best out of this sad situation. She was joyful. She was brave. She was kind. And she was in this just like me, just like you, just like all moms in Italy, Spain, and soon worldwide.
I kept going with my day. As my oldest was doing his online English class, I was helping my kindergartener with her reading from our balcony. And every now and then, I’d peak through my balcony railing, watching her smiling at her munchkins’ giggles. A tear started rolling down my face. I see her and she sees me. I get her and she gets me. And in all of this craziness that the world is right now, we were able to connect from a distance at a heart to heart level.
I shared some photos on Instagram and Facebook of my kids with a rainbow poster. Many kids in Italy are posting their rainbow drawings on their windows and balconies with a hopeful message so the other kids can see it and know that in that apartment, there is also a kid going through the same. In a world where life outside is limited, where playgrounds have lost their joy, and the streets are lifeless. Where hugs and kisses live in the air, and a slight sound of a cough will make us tremble. In a world like this, we can only hope that a rainbow will brighten our neighbors’ hearts, that our clapping every night will be enough to express how grateful we are to all the people working, from healthcare workers, to my local supermarket cashier, risking themselves to supply our needs. We can only hope, as every night at the same time, we clap and dance on our balconies, together with our neighbors, to cheer each other up, yelling “Viva España!” “Viva Sanitarios!”
Isolation is a dangerous thing for humanity, I believe. But, in the face of this pandemic, strict actions are needed to stop it. I encourage you that though physically we will be isolated, let’s find ways to keep the connection. With a simple drawing on the window, or a wave at the neighbor across the street, a dance party on our balconies, or a simple telephone call to say, how are you doing? Let’s not let this soon to be worldwide quarantine steal our joy and our capacity to empathize with each other, as we are all in this together.