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There are two kids at home, looked after by Abuela Nachita. Carolina is able to fix everyone sandwiches of peanut butter and jelly; Tomasito is in his crib all day, but he doesn’t know to cry when his diaper is dirty – the sores on his little bottom look angry. Angelica – thank God for Angelica – is still holding down her job at the Big Box.

I worry about Angelica. She only has the double-thick scarf she made from Abuela’s old apron to cover her face when she takes out groceries for the people at the store. She is good about coming home and washing her hands to that beautiful tune she sings … how does it go?

Y así, así me recuerdes y tengas presente
Que mi corazón está colgando en tus manos

Cuidado, cuidado (mucho cuidado)
Cuiado, Marta yo te digo
Me tienes en tus manos

‘Be careful, stay safe,’ we say to one another as she goes out the door at 5am – on her way to restock the shelves for the Early Bird hour. She sets aside a few items that we need in her large brown purse.

There aren’t enough masks for us on the ward. My friend Cecilia got sick and so did Antonio. They tell us to use the same mask all day. Two months ago, I would be fired for doing such a terrible thing – now they order it. I put it on first thing and try not to touch it all day – but I have dry-eye, so its tough.

I look inside the door of room 410. The patients are on ventilators – the sound is comforting and ominous. where are their people? their relatives and friends? flowers? cards? There are only the machines attached to grey bodies I must tend to before my shift ends.

Mi corazón está colgando en tus manos….

I must get home to help Angelica fix dinner. I hope she got salve for Tomasito’s butt.

Cuidado, cuidado
Mi corazón está colgando en tus manos
Cuidado, cuidado (mucho cuidado)
No importa que diga el destino….


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