In other photographs I will share my experience of meeting Joy and Faustina. For now, I prefer to let Faustina share her own words.
Answering the call
In the mornings our house is silent. When the phone rings, I rush to answer so my little daughter, Joy, who sleeps with her mouth open, doesn’t wake up. Joy occupies the heart of the house, halfway between the hall, the living room and the bedrooms, near the old kitchen. Thus it is always present, a stone’s throw away and warm.
The phone rings, I say.
A female voice: “Hello … can I speak to Joy?”.
Me: Yes … tell me …
The female voice: Are you Joy?
Me: No, no … I am his mother. Joy is six years old …
The female voice: “Ah, look. I’m Catalina. I’m calling from the dependency office … we are verifying that individuals with high degrees of dependency are being attended, to find out if we have to intervene carrying food, or something …”
My heart shrinks. Individuals who have high degrees of dependency and have no family members to care for them a week ago are confined. If there is no one to take care of them, by now they are hungry, thirsty, afraid and cold.
Me: Joy is fine, she is attended …
The female voice: I understand that you are taking care of it, you are not working and you take care of it …
I answer: yes of course, I take care.
I take care of her at all hours, every day of the week. Being confined to a dependent person in charge means doing everything twice in a chain and without stopping. Wash yourself and wash her, eat breakfast and eat breakfast, move yourself and move her. Clean your environment and theirs. Prepare your lunch and theirs, your food and your dinner. Talk to you and talk to you. Sing to you and sing to you. Have endless conversations without head or feet where you make up all the answers to your questions.
Are you okay, Joy? Yes, you’re okay. Do you like it like that? Yes, you do. Or no, you don’t like it. Do you want to move? Yes, you do.
And what more do you want?
Thus, an endless duet rattle. Without exits, without relays, without changes of landscape that aerate the internal atmosphere. My husband steps in to loosen when the tension rises. It deals with spinning the sun and the moon around us. I’m not complaining, we are lucky to live in the country. Lucky to have space around, garden, patio, sea views. Lucky to be alive. Lucky to be four and not three, not two. Not one.We are fortunate to have Joy in her arms, laughing. We are confined and confined in love. Although every three days I skip the badge and shout some outrage at the father who, invariably, acts as lightning rod for my frustration.In the lump in the throat is a gloomy future, the not so remote possibility that something like what is happening will happen again and I will not be there to take care of my dependent daughter.The question is:What about familyless dependents?Who answers the call?”Good,” continues the feminine voice, “If Joy is cared for by her mother, that’s fine. I leave her alone then … ma’am. I’m still with mine …”.Catalina’s comforting voice vanishes and that’s how quiet I stay. Imagining other dependents such as Joy, the elderly, adults, youth and children who do not speak, do not see, do not walk. In any corner of Spain or the world, confined by the coronavirus.
Now, somewhere, Catalina’s call is ringing.