Friendship is about always supporting each other, but also about having fun together – and making the most of each occasion.
Yesterday was a good example of that.
As soon as I knew online registration for the Covid 19 vaccination was on for people from 55 on, I called my inseparable friend Beli, and, at the same time – both at our respective homes – we registered for vaccination at the same place, one more advantage of being neighbours after all these years.
We prayed for them to schedule us at the same time and were granted our wish. Later that day we got our messages: her shot was scheduled for 9.05 and mine for 9.06!
We laughed and recalled our times at university, when she did her oral exams immediately before me, and we lived those stressful moments together for six long, but also wonderful, unforgettable years, for life was not only studying and exams, on the contrary, most of the time it was an endless source of fun and adventures, that we lived together.
So together we went for our first Covid 19 shot. She picked me up and we went to one of the premises that are now dedicated to this never seen before mass vaccination. A queue of a dozen people already waited there, but at 9 sharp the doors opened, and everyone went in: all very orderly and well organised, the personnel very helpful and friendly. An example of efficiency. In charge of vaccination in Portugal we have a Navy Admiral, and if before he took over things were not going well and progress was slow, since he has been in charge all has changed, and thousands of citizens are being vaccinated each day all over the country. Leadership is everything, and military organization has no parallel. As a country, we are grateful to him, and in a short time he has become a very popular figure. Well deserved.
Barely five minutes’ wait and I go into a small compartment with two people, where I’m given my vaccination card; I’m informed I’m getting Pfizer’s vaccine and what to do in case of side-effects. In a second, it’s done, I barely feel the prickle. The nurse is nice and smiling, we wish each other a good day. The environment is relaxed, I can feel people are happy to be vaccinated, relived that, finally, this might be the beginning of the end of this nightmare…
I go down the stairs to the “recovery” place. Beli is already there. I sit by her side, and we chat. What a privilege to be “forced” to spend half an hour with one of your best friends! We talk, we laugh, we take a video of each other sharing our impressions about the whole process, we send it to our friends and children; I wonder what people around us will think – well, they will surely see we are enjoying ourselves, having decided to turn this most important moment into one of fun too!
We feel no strange effects, in fact none whatsoever, so after half an hour we leave. Now it’s time for a cup of coffee, and after barely five minutes Beli parks in front of my building. We go to a café on the other side of the street; they have a terrace, so we sit outside and enjoy the warm breeze. What a wonderful, sunny day, so full of promise, like those spring days of many years ago when we sat together outside too, enjoying the first rays of sun and discussing Law subjects, exams, clothes, and fashion and going to discos – but mostly boys. Now everything has changed – we talk about work, our children’s jobs, the vaccination process. Well – not just that. Still, all the inner joy and expectation, the exciting lives we led and and dreams of the future are now mostly gone, but one thing has not, nor will it ever, change: our friendship, this feeling of happiness when we are together, this certainty that we are there for each other, no matter what. It has been with us for most of our lives and so it will remain, for better, for worse – and vaccination.