Since the coronavirus pandemic struck Spain, it has separated Xavier Antó and Carmen Panzano, both in their nineties.
The couple has been married for 65 years and never before spent so much time apart.
The Barcelona nursing home where Carmen lives closed to visitors more than a year ago to protect residents from COVID-19.
Xavier appears three or four times a week at the street-level window that looks into the nursing home to spend time with his wife.
Employees from the home provide him with a chair and bring Carmen to the other side of the window. Xavier shows her photos of their grandchildren on his phone to try to counteract the effects of her Alzheimer’s disease.
When he comes to visit, the wife and husband put their hands on the glass and blow each other kisses. Through the window they cannot hear each other, but Xavier says he prefers this kind of date to the one through the plastic shield inside the nursery home.
“They set up a booth with a transparent divider, but I prefer this window because with the booth you were limited to a certain day, and then only had half an hour,” he recalls. “I come to the window since in the booth there is also a screen between you, and I can’t touch her or give her a kiss anyway.”
The couple is vaccinated, but Spain’s nursing homes still are under tight controls after tens of thousands of the country’s oldest adults died in senior care facilities during the early months of the pandemic.
“I come as often as I can and will keep doing so as long as my body allows me,” Xavier says. “If I were the sick one, she would do the same thing for me, and then some.”