We live in a special time like never before, having many new experiences. Time now has a new meaning which I find hard to grasp. We have more of it and, yet, we get hardly anything done. A day feels like eternity and so little to show for it.
Walking my dog in the silence of the morning, we see no cars. No people in the street. Just birds flying around and bees feeding on the plants. Not sure if my dog even notices.
My new friend must be sleeping. At first, I noticed her standing on the second -floor terrace in the building across the street from us. Most apartments in Punta del Este are vacant after the summer so it is easy to notice the ones that are occupied. When I saw her, she did not seem unhappy and seemed to be at ease, standing out looking at the empty streets and the sea, as she combed her long black hair. I thought she was tall and beautiful, but I could not see her face very well from the distance.
The next time I was out walking my dog, I got the courage to wave to her and introduce myself and ask her for her name. Yes, she is in quarantine because her father just got back from London. She noticed my accent and proceeded to speak English with me. I offered her any help she might need since she is housebound.
A few days later when we had our lunch on our terrace, I introduced her to the rest of my family: my husband and my dog. In the days that followed, I noticed very little light coming from her apartment and thought perhaps she’d moved on. But no, she was still there, since one evening I saw her sitting at sunset on her terrace, drinking mate. I found myself feeling sad when I thought she’d moved away and was not sure why I became attached to her presence on the second floor. Is it the loneliness of our street? Is she a reminder of my life in Israel when I felt all alone as a child?
A few nights ago, we had a blackout, no lights for a few hours. I rushed to look at her window to see if she had candlelight coming through, but her place was pitch black. How could I help? I knew her name but not her phone number. The next day when we saw each other on our terraces, I asked her if she’d had any candles and she said, No, but she did not seem too upset, just worried she could not do her work for the next day. She thanked me for caring about her and we exchanged phone numbers so if she needed anything in the future, she could call.
When I imagine running into her on the street one day, I am not sure I will recognize her but our friendship keeps my heart warm. It is truly a corona friendship.