In Spain, a medical team celebrates the closing of a field hospital.The hospital, which was full, is now empty.
The lights go out like in a theatre – and the last nurses leave.
I receive a message from Brazil:
“Yesterday on my way back I felt the strangeness of the moment for the first time.
We passed only delivery trucks and ambulances.
A lot of ambulances.”
Ambulances: pure speed, and anxiety conveyed from one place to another.
Vehicles for delivery or help. The transfer between home and hospital.
“China will never learn” from coronavirus, says the dissident artist Ai Weiwei.
Different rhythms in each part of the world.
In Brazil, the only people leaving home are those who are in a hurry or anxious.
Conveying anxiety from one place to another. As if anxiety had weight – and yes, it does.
But Rio de Janeiro, a few days ago. In the Urca neighbourhood, pictures: groups drinking beers, dating couples, and laughter.
Joy can be interrupted in some places, but it reappears in others.
Maybe there’s a minimum amount of joy in the world to stop it breaking up into pieces.
Maybe there’s a minimum amount of joy in each country to stop it breaking up into pieces.
A minimum energy of joy.
Seen from above. As if they were plates: each country with its movements.
Hot day. Sleepless night.
The night must be kept busy with a mental hammer that makes no noise – so that even at home you can find a new path.
Even with insomnia, at each crossroads: take the new path.
In Europe, newspapers full of instructions for the restarting.
Instructions for putting on a mask. Six steps.
How to make a mask out of cloth.
Cut two rectangles of material and then another five steps with five drawings.
We are back to the drawings.
A old saying.
If luck is with you, why hurry? If luck is against you, why hurry?
Tomorrow morning, very first thing in the morning: not running.
“Approach, you who await joy.”
In Europe, some are starting to approach.
But do not fearfully approach joy, that is almost a new sin. The 11th or 12th or 13th.
But for that you have to follow the instructions. Five steps plus five drawings, etc.
I imagine a terrible telegram, ancient and contemporary: we await the state’s instructions for approaching joy.
Translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn. By arrangement with the literary agency Mertin Witt. With thanks to Paulo Horta.