StoryCorps Shorts: Alone Together
Roberto Vargas uses StoryCorps to talk to his wife, Susan, and son about their experience during the pandemic.
Roberto Vargas (RV): When I would go to the hotel room
after a long day, and it was just me there,
and it was very quiet...
that was when I missed you all the most.
Xavier Vargas (XV): It got very worrying once I knew
the virus was going to be, like, a big thing.
And with you gone, it was way harder.
I just missed you.
Susan Vargas (SV): I remember you'd dropped groceries off and
put them on the front porch, and that's when we started talking
through the window next to our front door.
You would talk on your cell phone, and the kids and I
would sit behind the window.
And I remember one of the hardest nights, I think you were
just exhausted, you just had your head on the window
and were crying.
But eventually, you started sleeping in the basement.
And I would not let the kids go past the top
of the basement stairs.
XV: We had to stay far away.
But I just felt better that you could be, like, a part of us.
XV: It's still very hard, but it's just nice to see you, Dad.
RV: You have been so helpful to Mom.
So thank you, ok?
SV: I remember, once you came into the basement,
the best night I had yet...
you know, your coworker had made all
these different dishes for us.
You sat at the bottom of the stairs in a rocking chair,
and I was at the top.
RV: I remember that, yes.
I even remember the food; it smelled so good. (laughs)
SV: It was the first time we had been able to connect
in so long, and, as crazy as it sounds, it's the best date
I've ever had with you in my life.
RV: Without you, I wouldn't have been able to do what
I've been able to do at work.
You have to be absolutely everything
to our four beautiful kids.
I've never loved you more, and I know it hasn't been easy.
XV: Can you guys try not to cry, it makes me sad when you cry.
SV: Oh sorry, honey.
These are tears of happiness.
SV: Roberto, I admire you so much-- always admired you--
but you've done things these past couple months
that seem impossible.
RV: What you're doing is a lot harder than what I'm doing,
a lot harder.
XV: Dad, I just want to say thank you for helping
get rid of this virus.
RV: That's a team effort, and that team includes you.
But what carries me through is this family.