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My mother’s hair is silvery and she has had it like this for quite a long time. Her hands are affected by arthritis and her eyesight has diminished from a genetic condition. Her conversation is lucid, intelligent, and fluid. Her vocabulary is rich so she always surprises me with a new word. But most importantly, she shows her love with tenderness.

My beautiful elderly mother is 87 years old and lives in Toronto. From there, last winter, she heard about COVID-19 for the first time.

My mother, the one who taught me to ride a bicycle and to not be afraid of the sea, to choose peaches in the market, to enjoy a mango and relish a chocolate ice cream. My mother.

From the technological window, she sees the world. She sees that there are migrants who walk 700 kilometers to return to their countries under the sun, children that survive on crumbs, families who do not know how to pay for electricity or water. She sees those who do not have means to bury their loved ones. The men who stand on the corner begging for help. The women who stand on the corner begging for help.

My mother also wonders about what does not appear in these windows. What this confinement hides.

She, in Toronto, and I, in San Jose, not knowing when we will embrace again.

Another winter is coming with more confinement, with more digital windows. It wil be one year since COVID-19 appeared and it’s uncertain when it will end. We’re certain about our desire to return to the hug, to the mischievous glances, to go out to eat an ice cream or get dirty up to our elbows eating mangos.

For now, from the virtual window, that 87-year-old woman who gave me life , and I, we both share the feeling of disquiet but also hope to embrace again.

Perhaps that is what it’s all about: to take time to speak, to listen, to ask, to be hospitable with the world, even from windows, virtual or otherwise.

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