I remember as if it were today the day that some loves were close to me.
Like sun in my little shadows.
At the edge of the bonfire,
At the mouth of the edge of the well.
Beating weeds and
On my barefoot Russian ways,
Even when my mother promised to bake the potato for me, I thought incautiously:
“Yay! Today there’s mashed potatoes or dumplings”.
Words always come in blocks to be separated or fired with the lime of time.
Interpretation, on the other hand, is long-lasting and at the whim of internal creation.
Embraced by the gusts of wind,
Every storm scatters all of our wreckage.
Afterwards, it’s up to each one to collect everything that the flood took
and relocate in the same place or in a new one.
As my mother says:
“The wind also hits the yoke for the animal to understand”.
I too have an animal in me that rages and howls.
Who does not bring them at his feet, has them tied to the foundations or behind the door?
Like a wandering wolf that suddenly lets out its voice, grows fur and hair on its nostrils.
Go out in search of understanding.
Because human beings lack affection and understanding.
And after making his lament, taking his solitary walk on earth among mortals, the so-called “good men”,
Retreats to the internal world, where everything is sensitive and dark
like the bottom of a drawer.
The world of memories.
There are moments when the cat’s claws sharpen and ask: “understand me”.
There are always moments…
I remember that, on certain days, during our break times, there was always a little break to think about life and make small talk.
Suck cane to brighten up life and give margins to the smoke of possibilities,
because they exist somewhere.
We never know where exactly, but who has already discovered it?
he already knows that the key to open such a door is love.
Not the love entwined by television, but the one you feel inside your chest;
The force that makes everything possible or at least bearable.
No, not everything was love, there are needs too.
They always come, together there, glued together,
thus becoming very difficult to separate one thing from the other.
Imagine that, suddenly, the simple act of letting a good word flow
can light the wick of someone’s life for all eternity.
Even the mouth that spoke:
“never again bother to remember who carries the lantern”,
it is always the first to receive the light.
I say and repeat.
A day back there, I don’t even remember if it was sunny or rainy, no exact time,
but with failure of certainty it may have been in the afternoon.
As memory slips, we were sitting under some shade.
It could be any month if we were there sucking cane,
but if it was green mango it would be between November and January.
If it was avocado, from January to March.
If guava, February.
Mixirica, so it was June.
If it were mangoes, there wouldn’t be adults who are averse to green mangoes and wouldn’t be thinking about grades on the school report card.
We already knew so much, we just needed a note.
It was important at home to be among the first,
just passing the year was not important.
It needed to be praiseworthy, above average.
This made all the difference when dreaming.
Underneath those shadows there was the dispute of time.
Mother used to say and still says that as black people you always have to do it a thousand times to get close to the good. It’s never good enough.
With our newsletter it was the same thing.
A thousand attempts, bad result.
What moved us was the false hope of fairy tales
and fruit candy.
As I said,
there would be no adult there, besides us, any knife and a pot of salt,
brought from some kitchen.
Do you see how nature’s time still exists?
Hoping we don’t destroy it for good.
After mango time, before avocados, it was vacation.
After that, the year opened up completely and we had time
to go to Jardim São João to steal plums from the Japanese
and run from the huge dogs he released after us.
But these are past Ataliban details, which the hand of time has blown and knocked down,
leaving only this vein of memory in my thoughts.
That afternoon, the women refreshed themselves and chatted
before collecting the clothes from the quartermaster.
The motto was: “what is most beautiful about my daughter”.
I had my ears open, that subject was of extreme interest to me.
All of them, one by one, were calling their daughter’s name.
and speaking about beauty and quality.
I already knew my qualities, which mother ripped left and right.
Proud of me she already had, now she needed to put some beauty on.
“Russa gets up early, washes her face, combs her hair and is always very nice.
I don’t even need to send it,” she’d say.
Even when I did things she didn’t like, she was proud of me.
Even when I cut her chair with Uncle’s razor blade,
she kept her pride.
He did not fail to settle accounts with me,
but I maintained my patent of independence.
The conversation continued from mouth to ear.
Then all the women there followed suit and made comments.
I was in a hurry sitting there beside them,
I was waiting for the word to return to the mouth of my matriarch.
I wanted to see what she would say about me.
How strange that she didn’t show me beauty or other promptness
Every time the speech came back, she was reminded of another art of mine.
I withered inside,
but the wheel of conversation would turn until it was time for the Ave Maria.
There was still sun, it could still be.
Every time the word changed to other women I counted the time and
I asked each one in thought to speak quickly.
For conversation, return to the place of my interest.
In the circle, there was a woman who didn’t even wash clothes there with the others and didn’t even have children.
Dona Dora, the woman from the house where we all watched television.
Only her house had a TV, only she had a different look at me.
She used to come there on the wheel of the well so she wouldn’t be alone.
Funny, how could someone with a box like that at home,
full of people doing a lot of things,
That’s how she felt.
I remember that after many rounds of conversation, back and forth,
I was losing hope.
My mother was once reproached by me for not giving me function or beauty.
I had already gone back to the cold cow, when suddenly something or someone
blessed me with the expected word.
Dona Dora said:
“I say to myself, Maria, my little Russian may not be the owner of all the beauty
like her sister, but she has the most beautiful pair of shapely legs I’ve ever seen.”
And Dona Dora had already lived in many places,
because her husband was a truck driver and they traveled all over the world.
So what that woman said had power.
I was proud of myself.
I ran to look at my calves,
that until that moment I thought were just two sticks
which I used to walk.
They took me everywhere and I didn’t even notice them, either of them.
Now they have been elevated to important and beautiful
by the loving speech of that woman,
who was not chosen to give me passage,
bring me into the world,
but it was chosen to potentialize me.
And since I was elevated to the category of the most beautiful pair of legs in Ataliba,
I accepted the category and rose.
I left the low plane, the non-beautiful.
And so, every time the world shakes me, drowns me, represses me
every time racism and machismo shake my existence,
I reconstruct myself in the speech of this group of matriarchs, sitting in the afternoon shade.
From there, I choose the best line of that day: hers.
The most beautiful pair of legs I’ve ever seen in the world,
Pardon the word.
It’s me she’s talking about.
It’s love we’re talking about, thank you!
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