Empty House

Rochi Leon

2020 - Ongoing

Lima, Peru

My parents, Carlos and Rosi, have been married for 45 years, some of which have been happy times. Over the years and adding the empty nest syndrome, each one has been focusing on its own routines and daily life, separately. My father has dedicated himself to doing the household accounts, taking care of his cats and his car. My mother, on her side, has focused on going to Church, gathering with friends and planning her annual trips to Miami to visit family. They have remained together but with a healthy distance in between. Before the pandemic, they used these channeling distractions to help them continue walking side by side. But in March 2020 everything changed. The COVID19 pandemic led them to a confinement that would last for months, pushing them to spend more time together than they would have wanted, each one in their own separate rooms, but without the distractions that previously helped them cope with their marriage and the decision to stay together. With an empty house they were forced to look at each other, help each other and accompany each other. There were no third parties to put in the middle, not even us, their daughters, since we stopped visiting in order to protect them from the virus. They had to relearn how to live together, with all the pros and cons that this implied. Each one continued with their own separate routines, but they began to share and talk more. Although it also meant seeing more closely the defects that bothered them so much, the confinement made them face each other, since they had no other option, like a true mirror that doesn't lie, one that reminds them that they chose themselves 45 years ago, and even though it hasn't been a complete fairy tale, they are still here, with all the cracks and stumbles, they continue to choose each other over and over again, because they don't know how to do it without the other one.

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  • Carlos and Rosi, my parents, pose for a portrait wearing their masks in the middle of the kitchen. The kitchen is the space where they usually get together to share a meal.

  • My mom watches TV in her room. She usually watches Netflix series. During the pandemic watching series was the one thing that kept her entertained and helped her cope with the lockdown.

  • 'Die Hard' is playing on TV in my dad's bedroom. He enjoys watching old movies over and over again.

  • My dad lays in his bed with Roberta, one of his cats. He is watching his favorite show on TV, 'Pawn Stars'.

  • My mom video calls my dad from Miami. In February 2021 she made her first trip after the pandemic started. She usually goes to Miami once a year to visit her younger sister and nephews who live there.

  • My mom watches the street while sweeping.

  • The living room furniture remains covered since my parents weren't receiving any visits during the pandemic. Before covid19 my mom used to host a lot of family reunions, having the house full of people was almost a tradition for her.

  • My dad stands in the middle of the street holding a ladder on his shoulder. He feeds the stray cats from the neighborhood, they usually hide in abandoned houses, that is why he uses a ladder in order to reach them and leave them food and water.

  • My parents sit and pose for a portrait in the patio.

  • My dad bought the house where I grew up as soon as he married my mom, but they didn't move in until I was born. They've been living here for 36 years.