The neighborhood is asleep, only Pilar – sitting in her doorway – begins to weave away the early hours with the distant noise of a beat-up radio. She looks at me. She greets me from afar, as if she wanted to hug me.
I have never had more than a simple exchange of “HELLO” or a “How are you?” from her, but those of us who have a different sensitivity can pick up on extremely strange connections, that others wouldn’t see.
The point is that the image of this woman dragging along on worn-out flip flops has stuck with me. Everything is old about her, battered, as if her hands had never touched anything new, as if her nose had never known the aroma of something freshly made.
Then, something other-worldly happened, as if she could read my thoughts. She looked at me, her eyes widened and she said to me: “Hey, you, the things they are saying in the news here, that there are thousands of people dying in the North [the US], that there isn’t any food, or medicine and my son… Oh, God and the Virgin Mary look after him for me.”
My chest tightens again. I can hear her half-muted voice again through her mask: “If it weren’t for this damn virus, I would invite you into my home and tell you everything…”.