Now Sundays are always like this. I get up. I go to the church. Will he be there? It doesn’t matter. I’ll go to the church anyway.
I am here in my safe place: in the back of the church as the priest showed me that day a year ago when, for my surprise, I came face to face with him as part of the church choir!
Today he is not her. After that day, I rarely see him.
Mass is over.
Why is it always like this? I never leave “refreshed”, not even “relieved”.
What do I lack?
I leave the church and start the way back home. I don’t think of anything; my mind is as empty as my heart.
The church isn’t so far from my house, it is on the street below. My neighborhood is simple as many others in São Paulo. I was born in a traditional and sophisticated neighborhood, but I was only born there. I have lived here since then, but I don’t know it very well. I take the chance when I go somewhere around to observe it better, and know it a little more.
Its streets are all paved now, the grey of the sidewalks and streets broken sometimes by some colors of the houses which improve as they pass on from parents to children and from children to grandchildren, and get new facades, garages, cars, automatic gates, and some of them lose their porches, their flowery gardens. There are no more trees on the sidewalks in front of these houses. They lose the colors, the green. They get the grey, the concrete. Not to mention that the houses even receiving improvements as the others, have preserved or made their gardens and the ones which have them, still preserve their porches and trees.
Unlike the street I live on, which got from the City Hall years ago, a yellow ipê tree to each house which was on the opposite side with no lamp post or wiring. And the street I live on is so beautiful with its ipê trees in spring, all in blossom, coloring the street and sidewalks, a yellow carpet that stretches from beginning to end. Then, I realize I am entering my street and it is still spring, but it is November, and there are no more little yellow flowers left.
I am walking up the street and see he is leaving his house and heading down to the garage. He sees me. He stops. Is he waiting for me? What I felt early today before I left home, that feeling I had only once so far… Is that right what I am thinking about?
The closer I get to him, the more I feel an uncontrollable urge to laugh
Have you gone to the church?
Yes. I haven’t seen you there.
I can’t wake up early. I’m going in the evening.
The usual. But it’s a holiday. Prolonged. I’m alone.
But what are you doing?
Nothing special. Listening to music.
Oh yes? What?
Some things I like.
Do you like Aerosmith?
A little. In fact, one song. No, two.
Well, I have a CD of them with me. Would it have the songs you like? It’s a collection.
Would you like to come in? Can you tell me what the songs are?
What am I doing? of course this has nothing to do with music. How can I be so naïve and not realize it is not the music?
I am behind him watching his every move. He is close to the CD player. I am distant. He puts the CD to play. he passes track by track asking me
Is that it?
and I answer
No, it isn’t.
I can’t stop thinking why I am here. I don’t feel for him what I felt a few years ago. Now I see him as I have always seen him, the friend, the angel who is there to help when I need him.
Ten years ago, my grand parents passed away, and it was after fifteen days the other. When it was my grandmother’s turn to go, he was the one who helped me taking her to the hospital. That day I remembered everything my grandmother used to say about him
My dear, why don’t you date him? Give him a chance.
No, grandma! Me, dating him? I can’t imagine. No way.
But he loves you so. Why not, dear?
No, grandma. I don’t want.
I knew he loved me. His gaze when he saw me, his shyness disguised in indifference so that I didn’t know what he felt. But that was hard to hide, so hard that we seldom met. And when we met, it was the same. First, he would greet me, indifferent, and I thought, now he goes, what a weird guy, but no, he would stand, watching me. I was also teasing him just to see his attitude as far as it was going. Then, we ended up talking for hours, and it was good, really good.
I still stand apart. He shows me other CDs now, other songs. I start to get bored
I think I’m leaving.
No. Don’t go. It’s early.
I need to. I’ve got some things to do at home.
Oh… Are you sure?
I get down the stairs. I stop. I don’t know why but I plan on offering him my phone number. He seems so lonely
Look… I do have to go now, but if you want, keep my phone number. you can call me later.
Sure. I’d like it to.
On the way out, he hugs me and asks one more time
Are you sure you’ve got to leave?
Well… I´ll go too.
We leave then, together and stop in front of my house. We say goodbye and I enter.
I do have things to do, but nothing so urgent. I only wanted to get out of that place. I couldn’t breathe. I was feeling suffocated, by him. What does he want now? I won’t think about it.
I make my lunch. I forget this morning. Lasagna is so good I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The phone rings
Is everything ok over there?
It’s my sister
Yes. What’s up there?
All right. Do you need me to go there?
No. You don’t have to.
If you want, I will.
No, not at all.
For anything, call me.
Ok. I’ll call you.
I hang up and it rings again? what does she want now? I answer it
It’s me. You know what? I was wondering if you’d like to come here again. Have you finished your stuff yet?
(My God! It´s him! Of course, I’ll go.) I’m done. Could you give me some minutes? I’m going.
Does he want me to go there again? Well… Let’s see what it is.
I go to his garage. He waits for me. I go in, climb up the stairs and, this time, to my surprise, there is a rug stretched out on the floor with a sheet on it, and some cushions. I find it odd and, at the same time, very kind of him to leave the place neater. We sit side by side facing each other, Aerosmith in the background, and we keep on talking, I mean, he talks and tells me about his new professional experience. Sometimes I interrupt him to ask
But how have you got into the nursing?
I met a friend a short time ago, and he convinced me to take the course.
Yes… it has to do with you. and are you enjoying it?
I am. A lot. Oh… I can only stay with you here till three. I have a test to do today.
Test? Today? For what? Entrance exam? Today is Sunday…
No, it’s not a college entrance exam. It’s a hospital test. Job.
I don’t want to bother you. I can leave.
No. It’s still early. I’m not telling to leave.
I like being here. I like to talk to him. But I look at the clock and, oops…it’s three already. Time to set sail. I don’t want to delay him again as that morning when it ended in water, and I, not to miss the chance to be with him, even knowing he was dating – but it was a chance – I offered him a ride.
SÃO PAULO + RAIN = TRAFFIC JAM/CHAOS
That was what we had. Consequently, I got late for my first day at the new school and, for sure, he missed the job interview. This again? No
It’s three already.
We need to go. I have to get ready.
Once again, we go home. I spend the rest of the day at home listening to music and at night I watch TV. I forget everything again. TV on Sundays is fantastic: nothing. Suddenly I look at the clock. Gosh! Half past ten! Oh yes… Dis he do well on the test? When I just think about it, the phone rings. On TV the show I am watching is almost over. I answer the phone. It's him
I was thinking of you right now. Did he do well on the test?
Oh… I did… It was ok. Thanks.
Any time. How nice!
Wouldn’t you like to come over here to finish that conversation?
(Finish? What conversation? Wait… let’s see what film will be… hmmm… no.) Ok. I’m coming.
Ok. I’m waiting.
I enter this garage for the third time only today. Everything is the same way as in the afternoon, a rug with a sheet and cushions on the floor, that atmosphere set, but I notice two differences: it´s not playing Aerosmith, now it is Queen and there is no light on…
Why all dark?
For nobody to know there are people in here, otherwise they start knocking on the door to ask for something, and peace is over.
Hmmm… (Oh yes… his weird thoughts.)
We spend some time just talking and, once more, he is telling me about his new professional experience. It is good to see him this way, talkative, smiling, open, very different from that distant, grave, closed boy. He is like this when we are together, if there is someone around, he is that looking scared boy as if someone would punish him or tell him off. When it is just the two of us, he turns into the nicest, most friendly and smiling human of my universe.
I lose track of time. He suddenly asks me whether I am thirsty. I say no, I’m fine. He tells me he is thirsty he will get some water, but he won’t. He continues to talk then. I take his hand and play with it. He holds my hand and pulls me to his chest. Suddenly, without my realizing it, his mouth is in my mouth and he kisses me. For the first time, I don’t resist not even try to run away from the situation. His kiss makes me feel calm; I don’t want to stop. I hug him. I can’t get away from him. I feel more and more at ease.
I stop kissing him and ask
How long have you wished to do this?
Since this afternoon.
Since this afternoon? It wasn’t the answer I imagined hearing. He was in love with me. I expected to hear
For a long time.
What happened? I believed all this time that at least he loved me. Now he comes with this. I have to admit to myself he lied – or lies, and this is not, was not and won’t be the first time.
A brief sense of disappointment surrounds me, but I don’t give myself to it, not now. Perhaps he has some reason
I won’t do anything you don’t want me to.
It’s all right.
I can move away from him a little. I feel well. It seems I forgot what he has just said
I think somebody in heaven is happy.
What did you say?
He is speechless. He doesn’t say anything else. Then he invites me to leave saying that he has to wake up early the next day. I agree, after all teachers have the privilege of enjoying long holidays, the others, not so much.
When I am in my bedroom, I begin to think that I messed up something that started finished when I said someone in heaven would be happy. He seemed not to like that. It was just a comment. Ok comments are not welcome. But what the hell is this guy? For so long in my life people made me believe, even him, he was in love with me. Every Christmas and New Year’s, when my grandmother was still present, with the excuse of seeing the damned fireworks, my beloved grand and I went outside to see, him. Sometimes I asked her to go with me because I am shy and she was my support. And he was away there, with his shyness/indifference shield. When midnight broke, what I most expected happened: he held me and gave me a kiss. I was so happy because I loved him already. And you never came to me and talked to me instead, no, you simply used to say goodbye, leave and I would come back to my universe.
I longed for this moment; I really did. I didn’t know it would be you. By the way, I have never dreamed it would be you. But now it is you. And I screwed up. Or was it your shyness/indifference?
Sleep begins to wrap me in its safe, comfortable arms. Everything is away, more and more away… I will think about it tomorrow…
Merci pour la lecture!