I start the weekend dozing on the sunny terrace with a cup of tea, listening to the notable silence as Madrid begins its third weekend under quarantine. There isn’t a cloud in sight and it’s already quite warm even by 9am. The only thing that can be heard are the occasional opening of shutters as other neighbours let the morning rays in. No voices shouting across from the balconies or car engines starting up like you would expect to hear on a regular Saturday morning. I’m really appreciating these little joyous moments of me-time and realise how much I lack them in my normal life. This isn’t to say that I’m unsatisfied with my life, but I pack every weekend with activities like playing tennis or going walking in the Sierra and rarely leave time to sit and read in the sun. Note to self: must become more of a layabout post-quarantine.
I’ve scheduled a call with two friends, one of whom is a Chinese guy living in Chengdu, Sichuan which is 1500km west of Wuhan. My other friend and I met him on a volunteering programme in Morocco in 2015 and have kept in touch ever since. China is emerging from the quarantine and normal life is beginning to resume so this video call feels like reaching out to the future. He is understandably positive coming out of the long, dark tunnel of 2 months under lockdown. He offers advice and we share stories. We even laugh at stereotypes about each other’s countries and the way we have dealt with the situation so far. We chuckle a bit more nervously when he says that people have been disappearing for non-compliance with quarantine regulations ha…ha… Generally however I feel reassured while speaking to him about how we are sharing the impact of this problem despite being in different continents and eight time zones apart. This togetherness is immensely uplifting.
We are reminded that one more day is done and we are one day closer to having, hopefully something close to, our normal lives back as the sun disappears below the orange roofs leaving behind it a beautiful, red sky.