The scare began at a friend’s house when I received a call from my mother announcing that my brother was a contact with a covid-19 patient. At that moment I thought about my irresponsibility, how much I had relaxed after seeing the constant decrease in the number of cases, how I had stopped disinfecting my hands every hour, how I read the news with an absolute positivism that was not my own.
Thus began the doubts, and the fear, because when you have a grandmother with probable lung cancer and a hypertensive mother, you do not care about the fact that it is contagious, but about being the cause of having made loved ones sick. At 10:00 at night, they took my brother away in a bus with 20 more children, five teachers, a doctor and the 20 responsible for each child, including my stepfather.
My house was left empty, with a deafening silence, which made my mother and me even more nervous. The hours passed slowly, agonizing. Something was missing. The noise of the television with little dolls was missing in the room, the noise of the cutlery was missing when they collided with the surface of the plates to the beat of the Round Table, the steps on the stairs and a screaming voice were missing; -Let him go in and out, I’m cleaning, my mother’s smile was missing, joy was missing.
At 9:00 in the morning the phone rang: -We’re fine, don’t worry. And no matter how hard we heard this phrase, we wanted to know details. Damn the time we thought to ask. -We are in the field, in a shelter that apparently has not been used for years. The bathroom is, you know. There are not enough beds, so the companions have to sleep in a chair, we wake up at 8:00, it is 10 and we still do not have breakfast. Anyway, we are still in combat.
But what to do in a situation like this, when you can’t get close to your relatives to feed them or give them a bed, when you don’t know if they were able to bathe that night, if they were hot, if mosquitoes bit them … well wait. The passive wait grew longer and my mother to calm the anxiety prepared backpacks full of food to send to the isolation center. Days passed and still nothing. Conversations on the phone became simpler.
«Mommy, this is camping,» said my eleven-year-old brother, the boy who finally enjoyed the experience with his classmates and saw the positive side of things. I, on the other hand, was extremely upset. How do they send them to a shelter without conditions, without preparation of any kind? Why are they delaying with meals, don’t they see that they are children? They were the phrases that were repeated the most in my house.
Telling it didn’t help me much. And yes, there were those who expressed themselves with love. There was no shortage of people who called me at home to ask me about the situation, there was someone who offered to recharge my phone to keep in touch and also who, while I was walking in the streets thoughtfully, put her hand on my shoulder and invited me to talk. Perhaps for many it was not relevant, but my family and I are grateful to all those concerned, all those in solidarity.
Likewise, there were those who expressed themselves with hatred: «That is why we are as we are», was the opinion that summarized everything that some people told me, of course, indifferent to the matter and with other intentions.
And when I thought about it clearly…, we are as we are because we live in a poor, underdeveloped country with no resources where it is a matter of distributing what little there is in the same way, without taking into account the individuality of each being. But, who pays for that food, where on the planet do they carry out such beautiful negotiations. It is not that they go downtown out of boredom or will, they go out of necessity.
A good friend and I were discussing one of those lonely afternoons at my house. Then I remembered Che when he said that the Revolution is made through man, but man has to forge his revolutionary spirit day by day. Are we making a mistake at the educational level? Where are the fighting spirits?
At that the phone rang: -Mommy, we gave negative, tomorrow we return to the house.
• Chavelys Téllez Castañer