19. Patchwork


Translated by Angela Telles-Vaz

    There is an anxious bunch of little souvenirs annoying me, requiring registration. They are tiny cranes, restless, harmless and blurred. Striving in the cages of my memory and, if I release them, they leave in a vertigo.
    Or simply go.
    It will be like a quilt; little pieces of any moment, for one reason or another, unforgettable.
    I only remember of one dream. I find myself amid the whole family wandering on top of a hill being careful not to slip. I know that my mother is there, however, I don't see her. I feel great joy that I'm in Manhuaçu, this then means that I have left the school. Among the ones present, I can only see Zélia, who smiles and holds my hand. She has bangs on her hair and wears a short dress, similar to the one in some of the few family pictures, the father, the mother and ten or twelve children: the eldest was already married. Suddenly, we find a tomato plant on the slope. We circled the plant holding our hands as if we were playing wheel. Then, everything begins to fade. I remember I was in great despair when I woke up. That day went by in a slow agony. I forgot everything, lost there, confused, feeling strange pins in my heart, tightness in my soul, so many things...
    One day a wasp stung the back of my neck. It was despair. I felt that something stuck there, I touched it with my hand and the creature flew away, yellow and black, there were so many!, leaving me with a burning neck. I put water to cool it, the burning sensation lasted a whole day.
    Once I was playing and there came Geraldo with a black friend. This young man is tall and thin, ah, I know, he was the one that slept on the bottom of the bunk bed and it was on top of him that I pissed while sleeping. I was told to pray so we could leave that place. They couldn't help much for they had already sinned, but I was the innocent one,
    and if someone wants to molest an innocent...
    and if I prayed with faith we would make it. I did feel, for sure, a kind of innocence, for I asked if I had to pray like the little saint cards with hands put to pray and a lost glare at the sky. I was told that I prayed as I wished, the important thing was to have faith. Everyone left full of hope and, I asked myself astonished, what should people do to become a sinner. I began to pray every night, to find out with horror that: I had no faith. I was afraid. If I had faith I would finish the prayer. And I always got distracted, looking around, listening to the conversations.
    And what about marching time? Attention! In line! Cover! Mark time! Mar…ch!  Someone played a bass drum and everyone began to march. Wasn't there a student nicknamed Bird? Wasn't he a little retarded? Wasn't he the one that marched out of rhythm?, with both arms forward, backward, forward…
    One time, while the bunch was climbing down from the dorm, I felt something falling on my head. I touched my head and spit disgusted. Someone spat in the air and it fell on top of me. They used to do it a lot, but I had never been awarded before. I spent much time with my head under the faucet and it took a while for that white and greenish gooey to come off.
    I have never spoken about the escape attempts. Sometimes, some of them would disappear forever. Most frequently, they were captured and beaten "like hell". Some were found with a hoe in their hands, wearing straw hats without having changed their uniforms.
    Someone made a comment:
    They are goofy! They didn't change the most important thing.
    But when they disappeared for real they became heroes.
    Wasn't it true that one of them was found very, very far away? He caught a train, was able to get some clothing, so many difficult tasks! And there he was, back, surrounded by listeners, all bruised and with swollen hands, explaining in successive details his frustrated adventure. Like an old Native, telling a tale to the inexperienced and fearful Native children on how he almost managed to reach the domain of Mother-Moon.  
    One time, Valdemar, Bucket, Zé da Silva, Hermes and I, were talking about ghosts. The day was ending and it was almost dark. They said that someone had seen some forks and knives dancing at the cafeteria. Or a Saci Pererê, the one-legged Brazilian mythological character, curling tobacco. One of us made a remark that, on the wall in front of us, there was a large drawing of the devil, a frown face with horns and goatee. Who did say first that the drawing seemed to look at us? Who did continue to say that it was laughing? From whom came the idea that it moved on the wall? And I do swear that it began to move. Our poor hearts jumped, we all turned white and, after any sound, desperation made us run cowardly towards the group of the older ones. One of us then said that the devil mask was moving. Sinuca took the lead and we followed behind him, full of awe showing the still and stupid drawing. It was an ugly mockery. I was ashamed and didn't know anymore whether the devil laughed at me or not, moving its frown face.
    Did I mention the nets they made? With wire spool, a kind of lace work and a little stick was needed. They weaved the opened lace with which they made a net to hold their hair back. They were works of art. I learned how to weave them but I have already forgotten.
    These are strange memories. They are in pieces. They are broken. Shards of glass...
    I don't want to forget to talk about music. We sang very little, some children's songs but very few. However, there were the patriotic hymns. Later, I really learned them while participating in the school choirs. From then on, what stayed in my memory was just the idea that all songs of the world were very sad. They hurt me inside and tattooed a doubt that I'll carry forever in my heart: would all music to be beautiful, need really to be sad?

    to be continued on next sunday.

Atualizado em ( 07 - 12 - 2012 08:08 )