Step by Step

(Pasito a Pasito)

I am writing floating in a pleasure nirvana because Isabel, my eight-year-old, is massaging my feet.  Yesterday, in her Covidian boredom, she asked me to buy her a pink nail polish and now she is very much into her new pedicure-lady mode.  She had not finished asking me… Mamá, can I do your nails and massage your feet? when my shoes and socks had already flown and my feet were ready with all their calluses and tangled veins, ready for the pampering.  My feet are so horrendous at the moment that when Isabel saw them, she paused, then she asked what had happened to them…Do they hurt, mommy? But she is a brave woman and she did not back out.  My feet were so thankful for the rub, even more thankful because it was just right after my four mile walk on the Riverwalk that I am doing every morning these days.

Now that I had to freeze my membership in the gym, I allowed myself a very long timeframe of monumental sloth.  But everything has a beginning and everything has an end and one morning, the morning I felt my legs in a specially gelatinous state, I said: Enough!! This ends now.  I put on my running shoes and I went for a walk, the first of many.  Since I go out at the same time, I see the same people, people that I now greet with a joyful fellowship, as if I were acknowledging my teammates.  The most loyal ones are always the same: a very small yet very, very loud little man that greets everyone with such peppiness and joy that I think his doctor might have to adjust his happy pill dose just a tiny bit.  If it were not for the damn virus, I would definitely high five him for his morning attitude.   Then, there are two women who are always laughing out loud while they gossip.  For those two, I always show my biggest smile, I’m secretly hoping one day they will invite me to join them, it looks like they always have a blast.   Then there’s this kid, this young dude who rushes past everyone on his bike, with his Regueton at the highest volume.  I DO NOT greet that one.  He is so loud and annoying and has no taste in music.  Jeez… I am turning so bitter in my forties…such is life…

I had forgotten how much I love to walk.  These walks have become one of my biggest joys during Covid era.  I walk and walk and walk until I am drenched in sweat.  All these days, while I walk I have a plan in mind:  to do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage as soon as all this is over.  I think about who I should walk with, if I were to do it alone or accompanied… My husband and I are very good companions in life, honestly, I can tell you we DO have a good time together, even better when we go on trips.  But we both very much agree that we will never walk the Camino de Santiago together.  He walks fast, and claims I walk slow.  I mean, just to imagine myself in the midst of a spiritual trance trying to decipher the meaning in my life…questioning…who am I?…where am I going? And then Juan yelling Hurry up! And moving his arms frantically from far away… telling me not to open my granola bar yet…You just had breakfast half an hour ago!….Oh! the mere thought makes me cringe.  So, no, this pilgrimage I will do in a very estrogen filled atmosphere, with sisters, cousins, girlfriends, laughing out loud like the comadres I see in the Riverwalk every morning… this will be my pilgrimage.  Each one has to walk at her own pace because, you know what?  There cannot be another way to do it.  

Juan and I have talked about this trip over and over, and we have come to a very civilized agreement: I will do the Camino on my own, and then, when I arrive with my halo of sanctity to Santiago de Compostela, he will meet me there and that same night, instead of sleeping in hostels I will lay my head on a soft pillow in the Parador de los Reyes Católicos, but before that, we will have dined on Arroz con Bogavante and we will be drunk with Albariño.   From there, we will take off to keep on discovering Spain, every corner from North to South, all the way to Andalucía.  I will go to the Cordoba Mezquita that I love so much and that I only know in pictures.  I am getting excited just writing about it, I can feel my pulse quicken just to imagine myself inside the Mezquita, I have already thought of the dress I´m going to wear that day for the pictures…I can see myself already!

Yes… This is how we keep going in this surreal pandemic era…we wake up, we work, we walk, we move along, we look forward, we plan the next trip.  Some of us move at a quick pace like Juan, some of us go slow, like me.  Some walk laughing with friends, others need their “happy pill” to survive, others, will always be noisy and annoying … it really doesn´t matter, we´re all going the same way, we now walk with no hurry at all, each one at their own pace … we’re beginning to realize that´s the way we should have done it all along. 

Regina Moya, day 100 of lockdown (¿100 already?…¡unbelievable!)