As we get older, we realise that life is a lottery, despite everything we´re taught to the contrary. The belief in hard work, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and keeping on trying because you WILL succeed is only applicable in limited measure given all the kinds of struggle people face.
Because shit happens. Shit like severe disability.
Not a week ago, as I was coming out of the bank, I bumped into a couple from around the barrio. They said hello politely, but perhaps because their struggles were all too apparent, they didn´t engage in conversation.
The woman, always pretty but now very thin, used to work in a supermarket, but due to what is clearly a degenerative illness, had to give it up. She is also a a cancer survivor.
The couple have two daughters around the same age as mine, now 13. One of the girls was born with a severe muscular disability but the couple fought to have her educated in a normal school and get her proper medical care and she is doing well.
I stood on the corner after they left and chastised myself for going on about my husband not getting his Christmas pay. I told myself to be grateful that our little family is free of the struggles this couple are facing every day.
I wished to God something could be done for them. And something has.
THEY´VE WON THE LOTTERY!!!
I´d been muttering on again about our Scrooge Christmas, especially when I heard that the El Gordo lottery had struck five minutes down the road from us.
Hell, for once Alcalá is “SpainStruck” and we get nada, I thought, forgetting that other lottery, the one that struck our trains in 2004, leaving dozens of alcalaínos maimed or dead.
That was a lottery our safe and sound family won.
When I heard about the lottery win, I did think of this struggling family, but I cynically decided that no, despite being so deserving, luck probably wouldn´t be on their side.
I was wrong! You can see them in this video, sitting in the car. How wonderful to see this careworn man, who hasn´t been paid his wages in five months, smile and look his age again. His daughter tells how they´ve struggled for a few years and that her parents deserve the win.
Well, I´m crying like a madalena! It won´t make a believer in God or destiny or karma out of me – though it might these neighbours – but I´m thrilled that my one, little prayer was answered. While the health issues faced by this family won´t go away, a fat bank balance will make life much, much easier for them.
So despite these times of “austerity” (legal robbery) this turn of events is making this Christmas a very happy one for me and I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas and a Guid New Year!