And then 2020 had started. I spent New Years Eve at home. Thousands of people out on the streets here in Porto. Could I have done it too? Absolutely. But I chose to stay in. I’m not one for big parties in such occasions. A nice dinner, music, my very loud family around me, a great movie after midnight, all that I enjoy. Here in Porto I couldn’t have some of those things. The family is on the other side of the Atlantic. But dinner was on. So was the movie. Then go to bed wishing for a better year. We know it’s out of our control but, what the hell, we’re only human. And wishing is free.
Soon after, January. My birthday. I usually take a few hours for myself, indulge in a lonely movie theatre session, think about my life. Again, I wish for a nicer period of time ahead. It’s still free and I am, well, still human. So, on that January 13 of 2020 I basically did all of that. But, I don’t know… I was in a bad mood. An uncomfortable feeling. And old. So old. I walked down the freezing park. It’s nothing. It’s nothing. Focus on the work. Write. It’ll pass. It won’t pass. But it will pass.
It was passing. Time. Not the other thing. Always there. I started reading more and more, on the papers, about the new virus that was spreading. I thought about H1N1. Maybe we’ll see some of that again and ok. Life goes on. We survive.
February came. I started to try and buy face masks and hand sanitizer . They were nowhere to be found here in Porto. I walked everywhere, even under the rain, to avoid public transportation, opened doors with a handkerchief, wouldn’t let anyone come too close. That oppressive feeling somewhere inside myself, somewhere I couldn’t tell, in some dark room to which I didn’t have the key. Life goes on. We survive.
March. Locked in the house. Fever and pain and exhaustion. My eyes deep, so so deep and shadowed. An out of control heartbeat. A fear in the dark. Of the disease? No. I never really thought it was going to complicate itself, least of all that I was going to die. The other thing. The thing at the end of some corridor in me, in that room to which I didn’t hold the key. A mortal fear. The disease went away. Work to do, relocation to deal with, daughter to take care of, screenplay to finish. Life goes on. We survive.
The months came and went. Lockdown on. Lockdown off. Old job coming back. New gig coming around. Life almost normal. The dark room down there, looking at me. The key?… The key?… I didn’t wanna know. It didn’t matter. Wake up, work, sleep. Wake up, work, sleep. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up!
I sat up on the bed. Gasped for air. That dark room cracked opened right there, lit up and magnified, hurting the thousand eyes I don’t even have, yelling at me, loud and mad, unforgiving, like a never-ending slap on my face. And it all got shaken to it’s core. And it all came crashing down. So, so many things locked up in there for such a long time. For all times.
Where was I while it was happening?… Waking up. Sleeping. Working. Walking down the park. Working. Sleeping. Sleeping. Sleeping. Until I just couldn’t sleep anymore…
A year called 2020 came by. And life does go on. But there are no survivors.