When we were getting ready to go, I got upset. My brother asked me why I was upset, and I answered that I wanted to wear nice clothes (just as we would do in Argentina for the Jewish holidays) and I had to wear my pajamas. My brother said he would find nice clothes for me. He brought a nice pair of pants and a silk sweater, and he helped me change. I went to the synagogue wearing them and felt good.
Time went by after September, 2019. Many friends visited; many friends invited us. We went to parties and had parties. We went to dinners and celebrations. I learned that nobody cared about how I looked or what I was wearing: they were happy to see me because they thought they would never see me again. And I slowly got used to wearing the same I wear all the time. I didn’t make myself up. I didn’t wear jewelry – putting it on with one hand is difficult and I would have to take it off before sleeping. Same thing with make-up, with the addition that I would have to take it off on my bed, far away from a sink, which means without water. So, I stopped caring about what I wore or about wearing make-up, or about my hair, or about my wrinkles. I shed all influences of Argentinean culture.
Now that the past is past, I ask myself, in the (very unlikely) event that I could walk and climb the stairs again and could wear skirts and dresses (how I miss wearing sundresses!) and could wear make-up – if I could use the left hand, but somewhat clumsily – and take it off in the bathroom, would I still care about looks? And the answer is, I don’t know. My condition has taught me one thing over the years: that the most important thing in a relationship – whether friendship, companionship, or simply friendliness – is not how we look, but how we feel toward each other – the feeling of affection and gratefulness, and the need to reciprocate. I don’t know if I would go back to caring about how I look, maybe I would – I think I would. But lessons learned stay in our memory.