At this time in the afternoon of December 23, Sandra Embudo would have to be traveling to her town, Sada (A Coruña), to spend the Christmas holidays. Afternoon on the road with her friends, a Christmas toast at the El Canalla bar, as every year, and a family dinner in which there is never a lack of seafood, lamb and nougat. In the background, without paying the slightest attention to it, the television turned on with “one of those stale programs that they put on that night,” he says, “in which famous people come out singing.” However, instead of traveling, what he does at this time of December 23 is to pick up the phone from a journalist from a hotel room in Madrid, where he says that tomorrow afternoon he will order a lasagna to eat alone while he watches, without blinking, “one of those shows where famous people come out singing, you already know.”
The perfect plan of Sandra Embudo, 31, began to unravel on the night of Tuesday, December 21. Sore throat, considerable fever. He paid (95 euros) for a PCR test that came back positive. And that is how the young woman assumed the inevitable: that she would spend Christmas Eve alone, 600 kilometers from home (she works temporarily in Madrid in a Galician company) and ordering, at least, her favorite food. As she conducts this interview, she is called by a delivery man with two gifts from friends. Are the book Madrid was a party by Javier Menéndez Flores, about the Movida, and a miniYoda. Night falls in the city, and the Christmas lights from the streets sneak into the room, he says. “This is more for a movie than for an article.”
A film set at Christmas and also with a happy ending, despite the plans frustrated by the virus, would have as protagonists in Valencia David Lezcano and Alejandra Cabrera, eight and a half months pregnant (it goes out of accounts on January 12). This was to be their last separate Christmas Eve. He, 48, was going to spend it in Madrid with his family; she, 34, with hers in Valencia. Lezcano tested positive first and isolated himself; then she gave it, and they got back together. The covid-19 is playing much stronger than the Church with the “in health and in disease.” The two are well and without symptoms, picked up from the world and waiting not so much for the negative of the PCR, but also for the fact that when the holidays are over they will finally meet their baby. “We haven’t thought about the menu,” says Lezcano, “but we’ve been eating healthy for her for many weeks, and I’m sure a fish will fall into the oven.” They spend the hours preparing the house for the new inhabitant who will arrive in January, they listen to the Christmas carols and the atmosphere of the street from there and they cannot ignore a bittersweet sensation: they are sick, they are contagious and they will not be able to see their families, “but at At the same time we are together when it was not time to be, on a night like this, at the end of the pregnancy… Anyway, it could be worse ”.
It could be what has happened to Pablo García Menéndez, known to everyone in Pontevedra as ‘Patilla’. His family Christmas Eve in Catoira (Pontevedra) with his mother, his sister who arrives from England and his aunt has been lost due to the coronavirus. It was hit a week ago by a friend with whom he shares hours. “When he told me he had it, I feared the worst, and the worst happened.” He sees life go by alone but with immense luck, because he is in a house that has a small farm where he goes out for a walk and takes the air (“if I have to stay in a room for ten days and at this time I go crazy”) . With no symptoms and fighting boredom, he spends the eve of the 24th thinking about what to cook tomorrow. “I will do something light, but take time, I have a lot left over, pulling from the oven. I suppose a lot of calls and a lot of video calls, opening a wine …; in short, nothing special because nothing can be special when one is isolated and ill. I hope that for the year it will be something else, both for me and for everyone ”, he resolves on the phone.
Marta C. spent Christmas Eve 2020 in Madrid alone with her daughters due to the high risk of covid-19 infection; This year, as soon as she tested positive and confirmed that the girls were not, she took them out of the house (she left them under another responsibility, it is understood) and is preparing to spend the most familiar night of the year completely alone. He does not usually cook. “How do I not usually? I have no idea, in fact I am a disaster, and also I have lost the flavor, so I am very excited to know what is going to happen, “he replies. His plan is seamless. As until now, her mother and her friends will leave her food at home, she will snack while watching a movie (“I have not chosen it yet, a bad one to which she pays just enough attention”) and will make video calls. Also, says Marta, “I will indulge in alcohol, but out of boredom, because what are you going to do?”
The level of expectations compared to the level of reality is especially hard at this time. It was last year, and few thought that this would be the case again when the vast majority of the population is vaccinated. But the omicron variant, more contagious and ―for what is known so far― less harmful than the previous ones, has triggered the incidence and, therefore, caution among many people. Francisco Naranjo, a 39-year-old teacher from Calzada de Calatrava (Castilla La Mancha), did an antigen test that was negative, did a PCR that also gave negative, but he is not completely calm: he lives in a Madrid apartment with a companion who does, and will spend Christmas Eve alone in Madrid with her: seafood, emperor fish, sweets and wine. “My parents are older, and my father has bronchial problems, and I feel much calmer if I don’t go. As soon as a few weeks pass and I confirm that I do not have it, I take the car and see them. Better that than keep thinking about it ”. He talks about frustrated plans on the phone as if, by verbalizing them, he could live them. “The afternoon of drinks in Calzada with the usual friends, go home at 7:30 pm / 8:00 pm to help out with dinner, your family … It will be again.”
For Pilar Sayáns, who has been infected with one of her children, she was waiting on Christmas Eve together with her brothers, all of them abroad (Belgium, Mexico, United States). One of her sisters even had a room at home and has had to find another one. They all travel to Madrid for the occasion and here they will spend the night of the 24th, but without Pilar, Pilar’s husband and their children. The four have bunkerized at home because of the virus. Of course, the family dinner menu was in charge of her, and that plan has not changed. His throat hurts and his head is dull, he says, “but I don’t know if it’s me or the virus anymore,” he laughs. “I had already bought everything when I tested positive, and the virus can prevent me from going to my family’s dinner, but not from not feeding them,” he says. The menu of Pilar Sayáns for the dinner of the Sayáns in which she will not be is composed this Christmas Eve of consommé first, and sirloin with pears, shallots and rosemary second. “Let’s see if they find a better delivery”, sentence.