Chapter 6: May 13, Last Year
No, no, hehe, I didn't get scared, no; by the way, it's been a long time since I last got scared, or even, it hasn't been that long, but it's been some time since I got scared at someone coming, hehe.
Yes, I'm fine, doc. Yes, yes, I'm doing fine. The brothers, too. But what's going on? I see you are worried.
Ah, this is kind of you, thank you very much, but you don't have to get worried like that, oh no, doc. We're already better. Once in a while some bitterness still sinks inside me, y'know? In my guts. But that's how it is. It must be his absence that sinks in and leaves us like that. These days I caught myself standing right here, on my feet, eyeing the place we set our tent, our pile of things and continued seeing -in my mind, of course- the brother. I saw all sorts of images, of him laughing, playing with us, hungry, complaining, sleeping and also that last scene. I think it was some ending, y'know, doc? One of those which we see everything again for once and for all to get it out of us.
Ah, doc, if I said that I'd be lying to you. Yes, I still heard his groans, but not awaken, only in dreams; nightmares, actually, right? But it's been fading a lot, I almost don't have them anymore. Those were more frequent in the first week after he was gone. What I really wish was that I could dream of him, a dream where he would come tell me how he is, tell me the pain is over and that he is in a better place. I don't know, it seems like a way of us to apologize even, as if the guilt was all our own, but it is a way of comforting the ones of us who stay in this life.
Yes, you are right, I'm still complaining about life, but that is also fading. It's not on purpose and not of my doing to be complaining, but there are moments, days, times in which we lean more toward these things. In these times, it’s easy to get upset, it's easy to feel this hollow in our belly, it's easy to blaspheme; but I confess I don't like it, not even a tiny bit of it. We are what we do and there's what we plant, and life has to go on, doesn't it, doc?
If I planted the seeds for this life? I think so, doc. When I stop to think of all I've lived and been through, I think I have done so...
No, no, doc! Don't worry, I know it wasn't your intention. It's like I said, we tend to get soft these days; tiredness, y'know? You can rest assured.
Yes, one day we can talk about all that, but I'm already warning you that, the way I like to talk, it will go far, hehe!
Oh well, doc... But that's life: a quick existence, like the blink of an eye, of which we do what we can and harvest the results of it, good or bad, but we harvest, and we harvest it here, not up there. Up there, we settle other things up; the ones from here stay here... Oh, if we, when we were kids, knew and heard what the elder really said... It would be easier, don't you think?
Hehe, that's true, that's not going to change. But there's also another thing; if we knew everything, from when we're boys, there wouldn't be fun. Everything would be the same and already previously known. Maybe the right would be saying: if we heard the part of taking care of things for them not to turn against us, knowing that it's just us the great responsible ones for everything we go through! But that is just one more of the great tricks of life in which we have to get tricked to really understand how the thing works. And it ends up being funny, doc; the guy spends a whole life of ordeal, of difficulties, and when he really learns something, it's already gone and it's time to die. What a naughty life!
Doc, do you know that crazy fat lady that walked around here for some time? Speaking of which, it's been some time since I last saw her... Anyway, she was the one that stayed in this tiny garden fenced by concrete from the crossing and would always wake up there by the Bingo the prefecture closed?
Yes, doc, that one! Have you seen the mess this woman makes around here? Yes, yes, but it's not just that, doc! She's completely crazy, and when I said "crazy" I wasn't kidding: she's nuts, the poor thing! Well, that's the point I'm getting at: about her being a poor thing. But before, I want to finish telling the things that happen around here so that you understand me better.
She comes and goes, we just don't know from where or where to. She appears and disappears out of nowhere. The only things it's that there are days that she wakes up around here, under the cover of the bingo, and on these days, she's used to staying here the whole time, wandering around here during three or four days. She just vanishes during the dead of the night, with everyone asleep; until then, she remains sitting in that tiny garden. It's very odd!
But anyway, doc, when she's around here, nobody is calm. You know, she doesn't have much of a clue of where she is, what she can or can't do in front of others. The most common thing she does, I don't know if you have ever seen it, is lifting her blouse and let her boobs shown. Doc, she's no young lady; she's a certain age and the lack of customs didn't help much in her case; I mean, if you saw it, you’d know it's not a very pleasant view - on the contrary, it annoys us. She always does that at the end of the afternoon, I think it must be because of the heat. She stretches everything and stays there, exposed. And she does that when she doesn't go wandering from one side to the other, screaming at everybody, talking to herself -or rather, with the things only she sees-, shirtless, really, only on her pants. And everything wobbles, and she puts her hand and takes it away, she fixes it, she scratches, ah doc, and the people passing by have to watch this show, even if they don't want to, because they see, and it's complicated not to look again due to the weirdness of the scene. You've already seen it, haven't you? Hehe, so you know what I'm talking about. Complicated, doc!
But these days, I and the brothers saw a scene that was also tough. For us it's not so hard, but for the people passing by it is. We ended up laughing even, because we watched the scene and the crazy lady and the people are part of it, we're spectators. And that makes me remember the brother that's gone; he was with us on the day I'm going to tell you about and he liked to see the things the crazy-fatty did very much, hehe. Ah, crazy-fatty ended up being her name for us: crazy-fatty. The other brother tried to talk to her one day, but she wouldn't make any sense and suddenly lifted up her blouse, hehe. The brother came back running, quickly, got scared that people could think he was taking advantage of her, hehe. Well then, doc, these days, it was around seven in the morning, people going up Bosque avenue, coming from Caramuru street, from Gravi street, and who did they run into? Yes, the crazy-fatty! And guess what she was doing? Guess, doc!
No, because I'm telling you... Come a little closer because I don't want to say it out loud... Yes... She, doc, she was sitting on the crossing with her pants down, still with her shirt on, and with three fingers stuck in her, how do you say, her "thing"... Ah... Hmmm... In her "wee wee", doc!
Yes, doc, three or four fingers, something like that, and she didn't just stick them, but she was moving them with lots of vigor, shaking everything, doc, it must have hurt that way. Ah, it hurt, oh yes, but the poor thing didn't even seem to care about it.
No, no, she wasn't screaming or talking, but she snorted like an animal, y'know? She snorted and foamed, laughing, doc! What a sad scene, the poor thing there, moving herself like that, in the middle of the street that was really full of people, and these people were the other part of the scene - that was the funny part of everything, even. The faces people made; some closed their eyes, others covered them with their hands, others kept on looking as if they couldn't believe it. Some old men cursed, some old women summoned all sorts of saints. Look, doc, it was a real fussiness. All of that must have lasted about twenty minutes, oh yes, it was quite a long time and a lot of people. Nobody had the courage to talk to her and, between you and me, if they did, it wouldn't do a thing; she was in her world, not in this one.
Us? Ah doc, we laughed... There was nothing we could do; we didn't want to laugh, we were impressed, too, but it couldn't be helped. Laughter came against our own will. I confess that the guilty feeling came along, but it was something so unexpected, so odd, that we laughed at the whole scene, especially at the reactions of those who passed by.
Then, she stopped, on her own. After she stopped, she spent some minutes sitting, her legs open, everything exposed, and then she put her pants on and went under the Bingo cover. She must've been tired, you know how it is, hehe!
I know, doc, it's hard to believe, that's why I feel so bad for laughing so much. What a thing, doc!
But with her around here, there are always news. These days, right at that area there surrounded by pieces of concrete to separate the cars that will go down Bosque and that will go down Caramuru... Yeah, that's right, right there, ahead of the sidewalk that everybody walks by. So, right there, she was in her birthday suit, wearing nothing, not even a piece of cloth on her body, crouching, as if she were locked in her own toilet, in the crapper, y'know? Hehe, it's been some time since I last said "crapper", I didn't even remember that term anymore! So, she was right there, crouching, naked, taking one hell of a leak and dumping a heavy load of shit, doc, right there!
Exactly, that's the reaction that we and everybody else who came had: disgust and finding it hard to believe. Ah, doc, it's so filthy! Her pee, the kind that's the first of the day, intense and dark, running down that bunch of shit that wouldn't stop swelling and softening with the liquid. Imagine, doc, you're going to work and, early in the morning, at the beginning of the day, run into a scene like that? The guy would go to work dumbfounded already, oh yes! But I must admit something to you: she trembled, and there was a time she almost fell seated on all that filth. Then it would be a complete filth. Oh my God, what a situation. I don't know how they didn't complain about her, since I don't see anybody taking her out of here. Though it's been some time since I last saw her. Maybe they did so, or she found something better or even something worse happened in one of these slips she is used to having. Who knows!
That's true, doc, she, at that time, was the attraction around here. People from Mr. Nitwit's bakery would cheer whenever she passed by naked or made some mess; you know how people are with some booze in their minds... Hehe! We laughed, the people passing by would get embarrassed, curse, change their route and many of them already left the subway or got off the bus looking for her, hehe, just to know what she was up to at that time.
That's true, doc, that's it: we laugh so we don't cry! Hehe.
How is she still fat? That's easy to answer, doc: she's completely clueless, so she snoops into trash and eats everything, every single thing! Fresh, spoiled, and even with bugs, doc. She really eats everything. That keeps her fat, but she must be loaded with worm diseases. She must be boiling with worms, but as I said, she is not making any sense, and it's quite this point I want to talk to you about, but before, let me tell you the worst of all!
Yes, there was a worse one, and that one got her into trouble. Can you imagine a crazy lady like that, that talks to people that don't exist, that yells and curses nonsense things for the people passing by, that walks that way and eats what she eats, having sex? Hehe, we couldn't either, doc. Not so much because of her, but who would have that much courage. It would have to be another crazy man, but it wasn't like that.
It must have been around eleven thirty, midnight. We were already sleeping. I don't remember what day of the week it was, but the street, Mr. Nitwit's bakery and the bar across from the crossing were crowded. We woke up with people yelling, trying to show something that they wouldn't believe they're seeing. I looked at Mr. Nitwit's bakery and the people were all by the door, with their glasses, pointing at under the Bingo cover, saying: "Look, there, look, look!" And they laughed in shock. In the middle of the street, people were forming a circle around the Bingo cover. I and the brothers stood up and went there to see what was going on, but from the way I was walking, you could already picture what it was about, you just couldn't believe it. There was one of these pushcarts pulled by people that I told you about these days, resting on the crossing curb and so loaded it disturbed the cars. Under the Bingo cover, as if they didn't care about the amount of people that were already there surrounding them, commenting, not believing and getting revolted, the crazy lady was on fours, pants down, and the pushcart man was humping her hard, if you get what I mean!
Ah, I really thought you wouldn't accept it either, but yes, they were, doc. And things were quite hot, because they wouldn't bother with the tumult that was forming or the swearing that had already started. The pushcart man is known by sight, I've seen him around a few times, but it shouldn't be like that, right doc? The guy could relieve himself with his hand, but he preferred having it with the crazy lady, that made no sense at all anymore; but oh, was she enjoying it, doc, hehe! But then, the people got really disturbed because they were having sex in the middle of the street, no worrying who was passing by - can you imagine a child seeing that, doc? And mainly, because the push cart man was no nutty and was taking advantage of the crazy-fatty to relieve himself. That made the people go nuts. And since the yelling wouldn't matter, they started throwing things on both of them. They threw paper balls, fruit leftovers from the green-grocery there that never closes, plastic cups and bottles, and even a rock flew near them, can you believe it? Then they got annoyed; it took them some time, but they got annoyed and the push cart man wanted to have it out with the people and started to curse everybody around, calling all of them to wrestle him. That's when everything heated up and I started to come back because you could see some foolishness was going to happen. But oh no, doc, the crazy-fatty, still with her pants down, started to throw everything she had around her, and even grabbed a bunch of her own shit and started throwing it on everybody. It would end and she would grab more and throw on the people, can you believe it?
Well, yes, doc, I'm telling you! Nobody stayed to watch. Some took a while to understand what the ammunition hitting them was made of, but they quickly vanished, and there was nobody left! It looks like a lady got hit by one of her bombs right in the middle of her throat. She was all screaming disturbed by the situation, hehe. The crazy-fatty hit it right on the spot. My goodness, what a disgusting thing! Well, I didn't see it myself, that was something people told, so who knows, right?
Then everybody left and both of them went back the cover and continued with their filth. People from the bakery here were still yelling and mocking and we were watching for a little longer under our canvas. They went on with their mess for a few more minutes and then I saw each one lying down in a corner. The day after, both woke up together, cuddling. I had my coffee at Mr. Nitwit's and when I realized, the push cart man had already left and she was crouching and naked, taking her morning leak, as if nothing happened, hehe!
But what I wanted to say with all this is that she's lucky!
Hehe, I knew you'd make that face, but I'll explain. Everything she does, what do you think it's all that?
Yes, that's right, it's insanity! She's crazy, got insane, got nuts somewhere on the way and that we'll never know where, but it doesn't matter either. Y'know, doc, there are many things that we see, that we go through here in the streets that makes us go to sleep praying not to wake up the day after, but we do. And at each breaking dawn, at each moment of the day and even when we try to sleep, these things keep spinning around our heads. At each day that passes by here on the street, more of these things happen and greater the quantity of things spinning around and torment our head gets. Being born on the streets is hard enough, but you learn to cope with it; now, come to the streets after a normal life ruins the guy.
Yes, doc, that's the reality of many of us. Almost all of us here had a normal life once, but that ended and you have no idea -may God forbid you to do so- of what it is to feel hungry, really hungry, and find out that the only things that's left for you to end the hunger and keep you standing is a piece of rotten chicken, found in the trash, of which we have to take the bugs away for they came before us and, feeling really nauseous, chew the leftovers they left behind. It's the leftover of the leftovers, doc. The leftovers of someone that turned into the leftovers of worms. You have no idea what it is, having to put your pants down and shit in the curb, because you can't hold it in anymore and your intestines are exhausted. You have no idea what it is to be cold with an empty stomach, having to wrap yourself in trash bags to try warming up, hearing the snaps the bunch of worms make, feasting in leftovers. Learning to live with hunger, with the filth and with diseases is not easy; worse than that is finding out that you go through it all in the middle of a place so big, so full of people and with that much money. I'm not judging other people, because they have no obligation to solve our situation, but the whole system, yes. Everything moves around money, and that I know you know quite well. Humanity, solidarity, and kindness don't exist anymore, doc. They exist in a fake way for people that don't need them. There are very few people that actually do something, like those that come by the cold nights handing out soup and coats; you have no idea the difference that it makes to us, even more during the cold. So, doc, that's the worst lesson: finding out the nothingness you are, finding out that your dignity has left you long ago, finding out that you are not fit, not even to fill the landscape; on the contrary, we make it dirty. Do you know what it's like to feel loneliness in a city like this? In the middle of the street with so many people? Because you feel it, not loneliness itself anymore, but in another level: abandonment. All of it, everyday, and each day in a higher level. It's a suffering that only grows, doc.
Yes, that's why we stay with the brothers. So the thing gets less unbearable. We have who to talk to, who to get warm with and laugh with. It helps a little with loneliness and the abandonment sensation, because at least we are more than one. It also helps when eating because what belongs to one, belongs to the other and we share everything here. But you should know: it's not an ordinary union. These brothers are real and rare buddies. I've already lived with some exotic figures, doc. Of all sorts: cocaine-snorting ones, crack smokers, killers, thieves... But some time passes by until we find this all out, and you don't simply find it out; there are always the losses to guarantee that. But we won't last that much longer around here; I think we even stayed much longer than the normal, I don't know how anybody filed a complaint yet, or the "reurbanization" 7didn't stop by to take us for a walk yet, hehe.
It's very hard, doc, and that's why we pray every night not to wake up the day after, but we do! And I tell you that the crazy-fatty is lucky because she makes no sense out of her life anymore. She simply lives like an animal. She doesn't know, she’s not aware of what she actually lives, of what she eats, of what she does, and of what they do to her. All these things must probably not remain in her head. As it comes, it also goes. So, she can survive each day, in her way, in her world. Haven't you thought of how she sees the world? Who knows if everything is pretty, pink, good-smelling and clean in her head? It could be, you'll have to agree.
What I believe, doc, is that God, in all His perfection, made our heads in a way that it can unarm itself, almost shutting it down, at least from the senses. Something like a relay that shuts down when the situation becomes so, so terrible, so unbearable, with so much suffering. It's a way for the guy not to feel all those bad things anymore, without having to die. It shuts the relay down and another world comes into play, and the guy goes on living in this world, without having to languish until death or take his own life. God's doing, doc. At this point, this poor thing must have gone through so many horrible things, so much disgrace they must have done to her, that her relay has shut down, and today she lives in this world of hers alone. That's why she doesn't care about anything or anybody. And that, doc, is her luck, of getting insane so she doesn't have to put up with all this anymore.
Yes, doc, that's right, if I am to wake up, that I do so in my insanity, in my world, without all this, but I don't get insane and I'm even afraid of thinking that what I go and went through is not enough to go insane; I can't take more than this, doc! I wanted my relay to shut down, hehe. I think that's the only way to survive, the brain turning off so it doesn't have to stand the pain, the loneliness, the carelessness. I still have the brothers, Mr. Nitwit... But it wouldn't be that bad to have this insanity in my head, too.
But it won't be a thing, doc. I know God looks after us. All of this could be much worse than it is, as it is for the most part. But God looks after us. This is all some sort of penitence we have to endure for what we have already done and that will ensure our entrance in the Lord's kingdom. So it shall be, amen!
Well, doc, if you excuse me, I'll approach the brothers and sleep my night away. I'm tired today and this chat must have gotten you tired, too.
Thank you for offering, doc, but everything's fine, don't worry. What you really have to do is take care of your family so that this kind of thing doesn't get close to them, oh yes. Around here we can make do, we're not alone and, as I never get tired of saying, the chat with you relieves the heart of so much bitterness. Good night, doc, God bless you!