Leandro’s mission

It was a day like any other and Leandro was playing in his grandfather’s barber shop, alone. He knew he was not supposed to be there now, he was supposed to be in his bedroom doing his homework. But that was so boring and practicing his karate moves was a lot more interesting. When he was about to get the moves from the movie Karate Kid right for the first time, he heard voices approaching. He could notice it was his mother talking to his grandfather. In a panicky move, he hid in the big cabinet next to the chairs, that was always kept empty for no reason.

  • I know you just want the best for us, but you have to trust I know what I’m doing. He is my son, after all. You have been of great help, dad, but you have no idea what I’ve been through with the boy before we moved in with you.
  • Then tell me what you’ve been through!
  • It’s too complicated.

He could hear the tingling of the shampoo bottles. Hopefully grandad won’t decide to use this cabinet for the first time today!

  • You have to tell him where he is. I know I don’t know how it came to be, and you don’t need to tell me, but you have to tell him. He is your son, he deserves to know!
  • It’s too dark for him to know. It would crush him. You know how he idealises the man even without knowing anything about him. I can’t crush his dreams of one day meeting him.
  • But don’t you think it’s worse for him to have this illusion that’s not based in anything but his own imagination last forever?

They suddenly stopped talking. Was that sound mother crying? What could be so horrible that they did not want to tell Leandro? Who were they talking about?

  • The thing is, dad, I don’t know where the bastard is. I never saw him again.
  • Didn’t you live together?

Marina sighed.

  • Ok, dad, here’s the truth. We never lived together. It was a rape.

There Marina started sobbing and Leandro could not understand why. What was this thing called rape? Why was mother so sad about it? And who the hell were they talking about?

  • Oh my god, my daughter, I am so sorry! I shouldn’t have pushed you to say anything. I had no idea…
  • Do you see now why I can never tell Leandro who his real dad is?

“His real dad”? Of course he should know! Why on earth would mother try to hide such a thing from him? And what was grandpa sorry for? Leandro couldn’t understand any of it, he could only feel the anger arising together with the sadness. He wanted to cry. He wanted to burst out of that cabinet and beg his mother to tell him, to give him the answer to the ultimate question: who was his father after all? But how could he? He was frozen. He didn’t understand why, but he understood that there was a terrible secret his mother was keeping from him, and now his grandfather was in on it. They were both hiding something. The two most important people in his life, keeping secrets from him. What a horrible day that suddenly become.

  • I know it was a horrible thing, and you are so strong, my daughter, for going through this and coming out as such an amazing woman on the other side. But you still need to tell him. Not about the rape, of course, but tell him all the rest. He deserves to know. He can’t keep this monster on a pedestal forever.

A few minutes went by before Marina could say anything. But the answer to the ultimate question was at last revealed:

  • Ok Dad, you’re right. I’ll tell him. Everything. Tonight. He’s been living a lie for 8 years, it’s time he knows. And it was about time you knew as well. So here it is.

Could this be it? Could this be the moment he found out the answer to the ultimate question?

  • It was the man you trusted to take care of me while you were gone. It was godfather João. And after that night, I never saw him again. Now can we please go buy those groceries and leave this be for a day?

As he heard the footsteps moving away, his chock could not be greater. And now Leandro had a target for his mission: to find godfather João.

Anúncios

Oliver didn’t know how to love

The sun emerges from the top half of the buildings, as if emanating from them. The angled light, though, exhibits the darkness of their bottom part and of the street. How can such a dark and heavy foundation support such a light and shiny top? How can such a sinister core bear such ripe fruits? How can love prevail on such a melancholic heart? With a mellow background music, gloomy thoughts arose. Can one’s core be broken and still give birth to such beautiful sentiments?

These questions bothered him as he sat in the local café and looked out the window. He was torn. Oliver knew himself, knew how broken he was. He knew. And yet, he thought, he could love. He could love like no one else could. As broken as it was, he could pick up the pieces, glue them together, and give his heart to someone, fully, as if he had a spare. But what, then, was he left with? Well, nothing, it seemed. Nothing. And in this nothingness he lived his days, not knowing what to do with himself. Not knowing how he got there, not knowing who he was. Only knowing that he loved. That much he knew well. But not your typical romance movie kind of love, no. Not that mellow shit. Not that throwing up rainbows kind of love. No. He loved more deeply than that, messier than that. He loved like the broken adult he was. He loved with all the quirks and paranoias of someone who’s had heartache.

Outside, he saw a couple kissing. How cliché. Their eyes crossed but didn’t meet in the middle. They kissed but didn’t exchange a part of their soul. They said love words that were empty. But how did Oliver know that? How did he? After all, Oliver didn’t know how to love. He just did it. Maybe that was the secret, just doing it without knowing. But that was just something he told himself. Oliver didn’t know how to love. He only knew how to be broken.

Oliver blushed. He looked around in the café to make sure no one saw it and hid behind his coffee cup. He was thinking about her. How every time they talked he smiled like a teenager. How they could go on and on for ages about every possible subject. How he missed her. How he couldn’t see her as often as he felt like it (which was every day). Oliver loved her. Yes, he loved her. This was the first time he noticed it. He loved her. He loved her silly humour, her silly smile, her silly crush. He loved her eyes. But he couldn’t have her every day. He couldn’t. He was broken.

Oliver was not the kind of broken people say they are, when they’re just not happy about an aspect of themselves. He was the real deal. The one they warn people about. He was really broken inside. How he knew? He just did. No one could have that much pain if they were whole. No one could have such a messy life, such a messy way of loving. No one that was whole could see the darkness within love. The darkness whole people try so hard not to see. The darkness of sacrifice. The darkness of jealousy. The darkness of truly giving yourself to someone else and forgetting who you are. Who was he? Who was he before he loved? What did Oliver become when he gave himself, so deeply, to the one he loved? And how come could they not just have each other? Truly possessing someone, in fact, only happens when you let them go. Another cliché, he thought. He was full of those these days.

Cliché. What a fucking cliché. Sitting in a bohemian café, thinking about how broken he was. What a fucking cliché. That doesn’t matter. She knew he was broken. She knew, deep down. That’s what she loved about him. He was a little bird she could tend to while she ignored her own shit. Her own shit. What was it? He didn’t know. She was secretive that way. Or maybe they just didn’t see each other enough for that to appear more clearly. Her own shit.

That same day, as Oliver walked back home, he saw a tree. In its glorious height, the tree didn’t know who it was. The tree didn’t know anything, it just was. It was there. It had always been there. But Oliver just noticed it that day. He noticed how that tree had been there probably his entire life. How that tree was like a living rock. A safe harbour in the middle of the storm. How that tree represented one of the containers of his heart. Yes, one of them. He had multiple. They tend to appear whenever he falls in love with something else. Every single time, he could feel it growing inside him uncontrollably, becoming another living part of him that would for ever stay there, a living rock. Just like that tree. And just like that tree, it has probably been there his entire life. Until one day he noticed it. Like today.

How many containers can a heart possess? How many things can a person love? How can you be broken yet have so much space to safeguard that love? Those questions would forever haunt him. Forever. Until he took his last breath.

When he went to bed, that day, Oliver took his last awaking breath for the day. He was enveloped with the dream world, where things are clearer than ever, yet so unattainable. During the last seconds of conscious unconsciousness, he thought of her. Of the love he gave her. Of the part of his broken self he so willingly gave her. How could she still want another life? How could he not want anything else? That was the last question he posed that day. Then, during his awakening that could only happen when he slept that deeply, when he dreamt that intensely, could he know the answer. The answer was that there was no other way. He could only give himself so deeply because he knew he had nothing to lose, broken that he was. He could only love so joyfully after having seen the darkness creeping up on him. He could only be himself when he was with her. With them. With all he loved. In this sweet contradiction, Oliver dreamt the night away. The next morning, though, like every morning before that and every morning after, he started questioning his love again. Why? Because that was his nature. Because that was the only way he knew how. Because that was him. And because of who he was, he loved her. But did she? Well, all we know is that Oliver didn’t know how to love.

A lingering butt

Edith woke up with a lingering pain in her butt. It was the fourth day in a row she felt something on that spot. She had tried a few different tricks she learned from her mother that always worked miraculously when she was growing up.

At first, she thought it was a mosquito bite and just tried not to scratch it. The following day it seemed to be bigger with a noticeable hole in the middle and she did the obvious keep-it-clean plus Band-Aid. No luck. When she woke up once more to find it even worse and after spending the whole morning going through some drawers, she finally found and used the old MMM: mommy mystery medicine.

But with Edith’s luck, of course by the end of the day the one cheek of her butt was twice the size of the healthy one and all around the now even larger hole, it was almost black. In a very desperate doctors visit she learned the infection was on the verge of giving her tetanus, but treatment would take only a week since it was caught early.

Now lying in bed, still half asleep and with a lingering butt, she remembered the cause of the wound: she had sat on an old nail that fell from the wall onto the couch.