9. Purging medicine

purging medicine

Translated by Angela Telles-Vaz

    There's a student, black and slim as an African statue, named Abraim. I kept him in my memory for two reasons. He received many trinkets. In every shipment his name was called and he opened the package in front of an astonished assistance, the prince of Congo, displaying the spoils of war after a victory. The second reason I kept him in my memory is tragic enough to set aside the amount of gifts. His name was the first one to be yelled when time came for the purging medicine to be taken.
    I remember two purges, there might have been others.
    Abraim started the line that was reluctant to move, like a bunch of cattle heading to the slaughterhouse, aware of its fate, fearful and slow, so the sacrifice was delayed as much as possible. Ah! one stab in the bulb, except for the fact of ending the existence, into a zero, it wouldn't be so horrible. I remember the movie about the Naves Brothers (Luís Sérgio Person), throat wide open by force and the thick and negative honey taking its way and poisoning the will to live. And I also remember a Tagore's saying.
    "Man, when he behaves like an animal, is the most terrible among the animals".
    That venom creature need not be so horrible. It was, for certain, only a measure for strengthening authority to annul us, to tell us for a long time, who would rule and who would obey. For that, we would spend days at the mercy of flies and nausea.
    There were some bottles and a small cup. Two supervisors, I never remember the two of them together on another time. One of them poured the thick and stinky medicine oil into the cup and stretched his hand to the victim; therefore, Abraim was the first one. In case of hesitation, one step back, running over the line backwards, or picking up the cup slowly, the other supervisor would loosen the paddle to hit wherever. Therefore no one staggered. Let the worse come last, it takes courage for the act. The Spartan covered his nose, still poor Abraim, and he swallowed fast the awful nectar. His body twisted, refusing to surrender, shrinking, shivering and the liquid, son of a bitch, kept sliding slowly ruining Abraim's guts while his eyes were wide open and his lips full of fat. The oil reached the stomach and settled there, it was like a liquid hell, a melted sin.
    Poor Abraim! It seemed that his load was greater. Even though we knew he had already bared the torture, he was free, that the line was still moving and the time of our sacrifice was coming, nevertheless, we pitied him. He was the first in that desperate line, it must have been terrible to be the first in that line.
    The oxen walked slowly, the slaughterhouse that didn't slaughter but gave an idea of what would be the eternal damnation, if eternal damnation did exist. It seems that the nauseas mingled into one only nausea, one only desire to vomit, one only burp came up and ruined the eternal flame that some insisted in lit inside the human being. It could be. It could be. And yet, in that awful moment, the flame extinguished for sure. Everything was just an unbearable stench inside of us.
    Despair went on for a long time. The night brought terrible noises and nobody could sleep. The next day the poison effect began, transforming into putrid water what should be intestines and guts. There was no place the smell didn't reach. The toilets didn't take a rest and some were clogged up, overflowed with liquid shit, millions of rotting corpses, concentrated on a piece of earthenware.
    The one who, at least, didn't smell that, didn't have to let it slip into the gullet, no, the one who didn't smell that mixture of despair and death…
    doesn't know what I'm talking about.

      to be continued on next sunday.