The truth is that it happened by coincidence. We had plans to come to Ourense around this time because it was my week-long break at the university, and Xan, my husband, had an art fair in London. When we arrived on Tuesday at Newark Airport, my friend from TAP Air Portugal and I moved closer to hug because it had been some time since we had seen each other, but we suddenly decided not to do it. We bumped into each other again at the boarding gate, and as always we began talking about life and of what it means to be 75 years old and work doing what you love best, which in his case (and mine) means to be in daily contact with people. Xan asked him if he would return to Portugal upon his retirement, and he, smiling, said: «When I retire, I will die because I get paid to do what I like, and if I can’t do that, well, I don’t know…»
I have spent the last 16 years taking this flight. The Manhattan-Ourense line departs Newark at 11 pm and helps me be with my mother by 11 am the next day because it arrives in Oporto (Ourense’s international airport) at 8 am.
Right before closing the airplane door to depart, my friend came in to say good-bye, and this time, without a doubt, we hugged as always, without thinking about the virus.
When we made the decision to keep our plans to come, we knew that because of the quarantine, we were not likely to be able to fulfill our professional commitments upon our return; but we had our priorities straight. And on Wednesday, with Maruxa at my side, we heard the news of the travel restrictions between Europe and the United States. And so, later that evening as we sat around the hearth, worried about what awaits us on a personal and financial level, Maruxa, contented, said: «You might have to stay here a while… yet there has never been a downpour that has not cleared off.»