20. Parties


Translated by Angela Telles-Vaz

    At the end of the year, maybe October or November, a tiny group of aloof and smiling five year old boys arrived at the school. Sempiternal deities! Five year olds! From which orphanage were they left over? Which nun had to separate them, by choosing this or that criterion those that should find shelter amidst that collection of human zoology, rats, dogs and jackals? Which slim and delicate fingered-hands could no longer rock those little creatures, caressing their round faces, smoothing the soap foam on the backs and soft thighs of those little pieces of people? Five year olds!
    Some still spoke wrongly. Not many. I suppose five or six, maybe more because soon at the parties they will take part in a little theater play about the vowels and punctuation marks.
    We all adopted those little sufferers. It was as if they belonged to the flock of the big brothers. Their toys were protected, their objects taken care from usurping hands. We just got used to the little ones.
    From that moment on, I stopped being one of the youngest of the school. Nevertheless, my position of receiving general protection was never shaken. I never felt jealous of the little ones, like for instance, I felt of Little Marcos, everything stayed as before. Would it be because of the classes? Geography and multiplication tables…
    It's strange that these little porcelain figurines left a mark inside of me only because of a short episode but a very significant one. During Christmas, they took part in a play to be seen by everyone. That's how their vivid image remained with me, disguised as letters and punctuation marks.
    We were lined up, cover, mark steps, rest... The nervous teachers arrived at the theater, someone gave the signal and the little play began.
    The small flock of birds entered. I was in ecstasy. They had hung on their chest a very white piece of cardboard. The first one represented the letter "a", he went forward and spoke a verse. The "e", and "i" followed and all the vowels spoken. Then, it was time for the punctuation mark, the comma and the period... The interrogation mark struck me a lot, I don't remember if it was the verse or the precise drawing, the curve well drawn or the child that played the part.  
    I don't know how the others reacted. I was simply amazed by it all.
    It was Christmas day. I knew already that Santa Claus didn't exist. I couldn't notice if there was something bright or enlightened in the air. No one heard different songs, no sounds but the everyday cries, besides the routine of slangs and curse words. The only difference was that we were told that it was Christmas day. Christmas was the day that he was born, the one that lived at the church, lying inside a glass coffin, dressed in purple with real hair and eyes - thankfully - closed.
    I also knew, somewhat, what it meant to die. The most remote memory of my life, which I recall, happened in Manhuaçu: I participated in the funeral of a kitten organized by Zélia. And the same had happened to that man born on Christmas. And every year, he returned to be crucified with nails that would break our hands.
    In the afternoon, the bell rang. It should be Christmas by now. Because the air was full of a bronze sound that took long to stop, slowly lowering, another sound pounding strongly like a hammer and the monotonic music went on and on. That afternoon bell was very sad. It stopped hurting the heart when someone shouted that they were going to give away the milk candy to every one of us.
    Milk candy!
    The milk candy was like a smile, it was a bell without sorrow, the tearless look of the widow-mother on the other side of the train window. I don't know. It was sweet, tasty, melted slowly. It was inversely proportional to that thick and foul-smelly goo that we had to take to get rid of the worms. While that goo was swallowed down to be settled inside of each one for a number of days, the milk candy, though inversely, melted quickly and everything hadn't been more than a dream spell.
    That sweet was a great lie.
    My heart stumbles while I write.
    Prometheus rachitic heart doesn't resist to all the pecking.
    I will only mention that during that whole afternoon and confused dreams at night, the lights and sounds seemed to come from a fantasy world where the sisters live, the mermaids, the colorful cars, the mother, the grandmother, the bath soaps, the blankets…
    That lie lasted very little.

     to be continued on next sunday.

Atualizado em ( 13 - 11 - 2011 05:02 )