I remember when I was a child and traveled on the weekends with my parents. Back then, the cities had only two names: São Paulo and the Countryside.
I always traveled in the back seat. Alone. I played with toys for hours at a time, besides trying to read the green road signs at high speed, when my imagination ran out of gas. At times, I got absorbed for hours by the signs or the red rear lights of cars. I once was sent into a trance the whole trip, sucked into the world between the cities, where the lights were so bright and inviting that I could play until, exhausted, falling asleep in the back seat, or until the next sign or light. It was a different universe, for sure. I didn’t need to go to school, and roadside food always had a better aura than the homemade one, even if it was worse or days old.
I couldn’t understand what people said about São Paulo being a big city, if getting to know the city I called the Countryside seemed like a never-ending task. The entire world was the Countryside. And even if São Paulo was smaller than the Countryside, I couldn’t understand how the smallest one looked wealthier than the largest. Often times the world didn’t make sense.
When I found out that the Beach wasn’t another town, too, my world fell apart. Just then I realized how small I was in this gigantic world of so many names. How hadn’t anyone taken the trouble to teach me that there were three cities in the world: the Countryside, São Paulo and the Beach?!
Many times I, in the back seat, pointed at cars saying: “If the fifth one is red, I’m gonna be rich.” It was like a universal lottery. Everybody had the same odds, provided they found out by themselves what the rules were and, on top of that, they won. Of course, many times you won the game but didn’t win in real life.
I remember that when I ate something, I thought that whatever got into my mouth would end up in my feet. So, when I ate everything on my plate and felt full, I pointed at my head and said:
– I can’t take it anymore! I’m up to here!
My mother, my father and I always moved from one city or neighborhood to another. We even lived in the Countryside for some months. I didn’t know why. But we always came back to our “home”, even if it was a different house in some other area of little São Paulo. If I knew those words by then, I’d say we were gypsies or nomads.
The first time we moved, I cried for losing touch with my school and neighborhood friends. My first friends, with whom I learned so many games; with whom I won and lost so many of them; among whom so many stories were told; with whom I shared sweat, bruises and laughter. There was so much happiness, despite the fights. There were always some daily challenge, whether it was drawing, throwing stones or just racing. One day at a time. Everything was perfect.
The thought of me waving them goodbye from the car, my friends running, trying to catch up with us, never left my mind. I, there, protected by that back windshield with those lines that were supposed to warm it up or something. My friends all there, split by those dark lines that, little by little, made their silhouette sort of fuzzy. Distant. Faraway. It wasn’t long and I was waving goodbye to a cloud from my past, a fog that swallowed all that was dear to me. Such fog was forgetfulness itself, the death of memory. Until that last moment I hadn’t realized that I would never see them again, because I always returned to São Paulo. But there, with the sight of my friends running in the rain, vanishing like the memory of a dream when we wake up, was when I finally understood it. There would be no turning back. We got lost. And like that, I let the rain get into the car, too.
This happened many times... countless times.
After I reached my counting skills—maybe by then, it was up to 70—one day I decided not to have any more relationships, just stop making friends.
“We only suffer for the loss of that we have. So, we are better off having nothing.”
I was 8.
My relationship with my mother was a whole different story—it was nil.
I rarely caught her looking at me. She never showed the slightest interest in me, even when brushing my teeth—violently—and giving me a bath with a cold water hose, on some days. Her apathy was what propelled me to improve my imagination skills, for nothing could come from that relationship, even if all the fruitful ones had been forever spared from me.
She lived for my father, and only for him.
Most of my memories of my mother are like an archetype of her daily actions. They were so many and so repetitive that only one average image could be imprinted into my mind. It’s of her cooking, ironing clothes, watching TV, while I cry for her in vain from some other room in the house. This are the so-called childhood memories I have. Of me crying, silence, and then quiet.
Toys always made me company.
They had some sort of magic.
They killed loneliness.
Even if speechless, they listened and talked. There was magic, indeed.
And I could take them with me when we moved from São Paulo to the Countryside... and from the Countryside to São Paulo. Their portability was one of their best qualities when you look for companionship.
“Toys are better than friends.”
Now, I’m 9.
I used to wait anxiously for my father to come back home from work. It was like being adrift at sea the whole day, and only by the end of the afternoon reaching the shore. It wasn’t a punishment. The sea gave me infinite treasures from its depths. However, human company was always a good break from the universe of imagination and solitude.
I helped him with his briefcase, his coat, everything. Even the smallest of the tasks, I’d do it. Though we few times exchanged any words—which was a lot more than my mother did—, there was a human touch... there was merely, and simply, attention. There, in those simple tasks and in my strive to make him notice I was there, I knew... Rather, I was sure! I existed! Even if those moments were brief, I knew I was there; that I wasn’t going mad; that I, as the voices of my “friends”, were not somebody else’s figment of imagination. I was real for some hours, minutes, seconds, and not another wooden or plastic toy.
I carried such feeling and mistrust for many years. I would wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure “I was there”. I conditioned myself to drink lots of water before bedtime, just to wake up mid-sleep. It was a guarantee that I would wake up. Because you never know when you won’t wake up. Of course, I sometimes woke up to a wet bed. I knew my parents would be mad at me and that the sheets would be changed only when the smell was unbearable to them—because to me, it made no difference—, however I was thankful for having two sleeps, for waking up before I actually woke up, and for making sure I wasn’t someone else’s imagination. I was there.
But I remember... on a day like any other, a bell rang in our house. I heard that sound. For a moment I thought that it was perhaps my imagination, or just the TV or sound from the neighbor. I didn’t know. Nonetheless, I left it up to destiny to solve that short-lived mystery. It didn’t take long and the sound hit my ears once more. Only later I found out it was something they called the doorbell. It let us know we had visitors, something else I knew nothing of until then. Why would people come to somebody else’s house? Don’t they have theirs? I always met my old friends outside. Then, I slowly stood up and walked towards the door in even slower steps. A woman was standing behind the blurry glass. It was when she came home with a child my age, that things changed...
I answered the door.
I made some noise when I jumped at the doorknob, which made my father come see what was happening. He told me—pushing me—to get back in, and I stayed there watching him talk to the woman. I liked to hear her voice. I rarely had that chance. The house was always quiet, like if our existences weren’t concrete until we uttered a word. So much so that, at times, I thought we were just ghosts in an abandoned house, doing whatever we repeatedly did in our past lives. Condemned to repetition, renegaded by life, prisoners to an eternal comeback. However, my father’s voice was so calm that all that pleased me. I stayed there, listening to that strange sound I little knew about, until the other boy’s eyes met mine’s. Then, we couldn’t stop staring at each other. We created a tightrope between our eyes. I don’t know whether we were waiting for someone to “fall”, but the fact is that we were rather building a bridge to the inside of each of us. “Who are you? What do you do? Do you also play with toys? Do you exist?” I stood there mentally, psychically, paranormally asking all those questions like if I could “listen” from those dark eyes; like if from the twin dark holes of his eyes, an echo of his thoughts could be sent to anyone aware enough to get them; to anyone who had the same questions in life. To anyone who was me.
When my father’s arms were raised like an orchestra maestro at his climax, screams were shouted and my father’s voice reached the tone I was more used to, even if only a few times. The woman tried to reply at the same level, gestured even more and pointed to the boy, who silently looked at me. It was like we were in another world. Maybe a world of imaginary boys, of boys who didn’t exist. His mother left. When the boy was reluctant to leave, his mother came back stumping her feet and dragged him who, even walking backwards holding his mother’s hand, had his eyes glued on me. The bridge was stretched as far as he could.
And the door was slammed close, before our sights were disconnected.
That same night my parents had a fight, we packed our bags and went once more to the Countryside. However, this fight was particularly more severe than the others. Shouts were louder and more voracious, and lasted until the dawn of the next day. Not even my thin and hard pillow could protect my ears on that fateful night. My eyes found no rest until morning. I couldn’t explain why, whenever my parents said something, it was something violent. That was when I was finally hearing my mother’s voice. I stayed in a state of mental silence throughout the darkness, thinking about it. Maybe deep inside me I knew that this would be the trigger to all else, or at least of a new phase in our lives... a new and complete phase of our disgrace.
Perhaps not by chance I love the quietude of my work.
Still on that day’s dusky morning, my parents got everything they had, put it in the car while still yelling and took me in yet another of our trips. No clothes were folded, silverware carried yet in their drawers, and the TV was tied to the roof of the car. However, amid all that rush, my toys were left behind.
I was alone, again.
From then on, be it warm or not, my father quenched his thirst every single hour of the day.
He demanded, kicking me, that I’d go get his newspaper, letters and bills. The pleasure I once had of getting his things when he got back from work was instantaneously obliterated. Suddenly, I was no longer waiting for my father to arrive... but rather to never come back.
A slap, another slap... a punch.
The endless hours with my new toys—made by myself from trash— quickly went by until my father got back home. From the sea to the shore. However, only marine life now mattered to me; that, only, had my interest. Silence... his silence. My mother. This little morning and afternoon peace was now my favorite part of the day. The pause. However, I no longer had toys. All of them were constantly put back in the trash. The sun and the sea were my only companions. Inanimate objects. I was never able to get anything from them. Loneliness. So, for many mornings, afternoons, days, months, I stayed there by the living room, sometimes in the bedroom, sitting and waiting... and waiting... and waiting... aware of every second, every thousandth of a second of peace I had in those moments. I tried, with all my strength, to split my time like Zeno did, and have all its slices in my memory. Achilles would never reach the tortoise. Each immaterial piece of the fourth dimension is in a special drawer in my mind. Who would have known that the large number of times I tried to create those instants would simply be crushed in the face of the other force of an even greater magnitude?
I always looked up from the bottom, never shouting.
More women with kids would show up at our doorstep. First, once a month. Then, every two weeks. Every week. Day in day out. My father yelled at them. I stared at their kids and they would be gone. Those stares. I recorded each one of them. The bridge was built and stretched, every time. I mentally asked my questions. And, mentally, they were answered. Total silence. They would always go away. They were whites, blacks, browns, Asians, babies and children who were either younger than me or my age. My mother once again yells at my father the whole night and, also by that morning, we would all go from the Countryside to São Paulo. From São Paulo to the Countryside.
Back then, in my mind, sunrise always meant to travel. Thus, I started waking up late. At that point, the question about my existence, about proving I existed, was irrelevant. In fact, its answer was at the center of all my problems. Why would it matter to exist like that? I preferred to be the ghost I had always been, a nonexistence, the wooden toy! Even if everything was a lie, it’d better that way! My new toys were left behind every time we traveled. But now, I was the one who tossed them out. That’s when I realized I was no longer seeking happiness, and if there was anything more precious than that leap from an average to a higher state, it was the infinite one from misery to an average state, for there... right there, I could feel something hitherto unnoticeable, and only then could I find its name. Everybody called that sentiment, relief.
Once, it happened on my tenth birthday.
Along the countless fights, I learned that there were yet other words to express all the things I had in my heart. The first of such discoveries had already shone light into my world. Naming those mysterious things of my inner self gradually became an obsession. After all, there were many words that belonged to the world of the unknown.
– F*ck #! H*oly S%it!.
After a while, you learn the “language of hatred”. At least, that was the name I gave it. It was, indeed, like living in another country and learning another language, like deciphering a code or talking backwards. There was so much feeling when my parents used those secret language words, that it looked like they felt... they felt... relieved.
There was this type of magic word, stronger than just “damn” and that people referred to as being a “swear word.” And in my head, something you “swear” could only be a good thing. But its sound was simply unknowable to me. It would go into my ear, but couldn’t stick in my memory. It was immediately forgotten. Only then did I figured out what my teachers’ saying meant. They went out through the other ear! But why? After all, only adults said them. I’ve never heard of any of my friends pronounce such alien sounds. So it had to do with growing up. It was something only grownups knew or kept to themselves. Once, when I paid close attention, I noticed that a boy on the street had called another girl something, but I could not memorize it. In fact, I only noticed it because her mother came running and shouting that he wasn’t supposed to swear.
However, I only heard this “magic word”.
And how much satisfaction in that boy’s eyes!
What a smile he gave!
I wanted that for myself!
But he was a little older than me, so the rule still held true: I would have to grow up or be smarter than my age to achieve such power, a task that I simply didn’t know whether it would be easy or difficult, or even something for the next incarnation. But something about those words, those secret and magical sounds, seduced me for they made even the worst of feelings disappear. Unlike normal spells and enchantments—as if such things existed—they didn’t target the other, the enemy, but rather yourself. You would have to exasperate yourself when pronouncing them like a dragon spitting fire, for such a flame to reach a plateau that exhausted all its fuel. And by doing so, extinguishing itself.
I always pictured the others as mirrors, so, when I cried out the fiery word, the flame in me would paradoxically be extinguished.
One thought could unleash all this... Of course I would have to have my heart heavy at every beat to feel such lightness later; but it was too much for me by then, I couldn’t reach that state. What could I do?
I sat on the floor doing nothing, just listening to the fights like a mantra, waiting for the answer to come my way among all that cacophony. By then, that was like listening to music. After a long time despising such conflicts, a certain affinity nourished my spirit for a while and I could become a spectator. Even if I didn’t utter the fiery words, watching the fire burn didn’t make me hungry. Seeing the sparks, the crackles, and the seductive and flickering movement of the flames of language, got me hypnotized. The third degree voices. All this left me on the side of the living, daily satiating my stomach. But it didn’t feed me, either.
One day I was there, alone, thinking and playing with my ideas, when I found a family album under the sofa. I didn’t know whether I had never noticed it there or had never been curious enough to look in that filthy place. Or even if, because of the many changes, it had—randomly for lack of place, or will power—landed there... in front of me.
At school, we had already had our pictures taken for the class yearbook and mural. There were always pictures of the holidays and the celebrations, where we danced and sang wearing costumes, even though we never knew which day of the week it was. The man who took the pictures always said “say cheese” or “smile for the birdie”, which I never understood, because he could just to say “smile”, since we were all happy to be in the photo. We all wanted to see us in the picture looking at ourselves, recognizing ourselves throughout time, the youngster eternally staring at the elder. A reflection in the waters of memory. No one wanted to smile for a stupid birdie.
But my family didn’t take photos.
“So whose photos were these?”, I thought.
I was surprised by the discovery, because my mother used to throw all school photos in the trash. That’s why one day I began to glue them in a Jurassic Park sticker album I had found in the trash. What an irony. But while cleaning the house my mother threw the album away since I never played with stickers, and all my photos went to the trash once again.
With my thin, small arms, I grabbed the thick, heavy cover to open the big album. It was heavy. It seemed to hold something very important, beyond mere material questions. Old, mysterious questions about my sneaky existence found their way back to my mind. But they were just a reminder. My parents wouldn’t hide that I was an imaginary being in a photo book, as if they had pictures of when I was a wooden toy. This was something else. Something even more special.
When the album was opened in the middle, my world changed.
Dust flew everywhere.
An ancient fog took over the room.
I realized that I was dealing with something that might go back years and years in history. An artifact that could be sacred, rare or magical. Stupid as it sounds, I thought of dinosaurs. After all, this was the head of a ten-year-old boy and my photos were on their album. The five-million-year-old and eleven-year-old were part of the same universe, the unreachable. I looked at my fingers and looked at the crumbs of the book sticking to them. How minute they were. Such yellow dust were footprints... A few moments passed, during which I thought I had violated something I shouldn’t have, like opening a Pandora’s box. But, as in every myth, our destiny is written in lines dating before our birth. It was all inevitable. Inexorable. Being born was being already meant to become something. To avoid it, was to accomplish it.
I had the album open exactly in its half. From the left page up to the cover, there were photos of my parents’ dating and wedding. Everyone was smiling, as in the photos for school. I had never seen my parents young, much less smiling. How many mysteries this book contained! Do we only smile when we are young? It would make sense in case they didn’t smile anymore when they’re older. And this was, precisely, the reality. Looking deeply into such soundless pictures, I could only think that the magic words came at the cost of happiness, or that the seriousness of life could only be achieved with the maturity of vocal powers. How many smiles... how many happy expressions... They even danced... but...
Everything was in black and white.
That was wrong.
From the right page up to the back cover, there were only pictures of my mother, fat, with a giant belly. Although they were fewer, there were still some. However, the photos were not so rehearsed. It looked like there was no one to say “say cheese” or to smile for the stupid birdie. In fact, that was very likely because, from that point on, only my mother was in the photos. Fatter and fatter. She looked lost, never prepared for the photos. Thrown on the bed, on the couch, and even on the bus. Her expression was an outline of today’s apathy. Petrification. Even the photos were no longer taken with much care. Some were out of focus, others were taken with objects in front of them, totally out of frame or whatever. The last one was just of her hand, covering the lens.
Shuffling through such bitterness led me to ask: why are they taking pictures of sad moments? Aren’t photos supposed to record happy moments?! The premise of any photo was always to smile—even I knew that! We materialize happiness—the sad moments, we try and forget them. That was the real rule of photography. The school photographer, himself, agreed with me when I told him that. But then, why? There was so much about my father and my mother that I didn’t and would never know, that a feeling that had always been hidden in my mind slowly startled me: a strangeness. “Who are you?”
Soon after, I appeared, young.
There were photos of my first and second birthday.
None, for the others.
But no one was happy. I was usually crying. Nothing was like my school’s birthday parties. There were no decorations, balloons, or a cake. I could only tell they were birthdays by the date of the photos. My father and mother would appear, one at a time, with me on the couch watching TV, like a normal day. My father and mother smoked and held me in their lap in some of the few photos. Suddenly, I wanted to be small again. I wanted that hug and lap, in the smoke. That heat. Tenderness.
To realize such closeness... to realize that one day it existed but I had no recollection of it, made the current distance between my parents and I larger than the distance between one of my small arms to the other. Just as when I sometimes tried to touch the moon or star with my hand, I felt for the first time the “infinitude”, the cosmic horror of the immeasurable. The unreachable. My heart beat a hollow, deaf beat... Vacuum.
But a small detail surprised me, breaking my mental and cardiac silence.
There was something wrong, because those were color pictures! I realized the error. So I thought I’d fix it, so my parents would be happy with me again. Who knows if I placed the right colors on this album from the past, today’s reality could be changed for the better? The distance I felt between us was so large that the two bodies, the two dots, could well be seeing as non-existing, since they would never see or touch each other. I wanted the closeness back. I wanted to feel that gravitational pull of feelings. At that moment, that was all I cared about. A reality that I lived and had no memories of, was just like I had never lived. However, we only forget sad situations, so why should we forget this? It didn’t make sense. We needed to recover such experiences by experiencing them again! Yes! This all makes sense!
– And who knows, we would take a picture, all happy, for the album too? Yes!
Thus, I got the crayon and started painting all the photos. I was getting very excited. Anxiety. I could barely wait to see my parents’ face when they saw the gift I made for them. I had never received a gift from them, much less I had given one to them, but nothing would prevent this from becoming a habit between us, in the near future. I hoped.
As carefully as I could, I painted the pictures with the happiness I thought they should have. Red. Green. Blue. Yellow; yes, yellow. Everything should have colors. Purple. Violet. Brown and orange, too. After all, the photos we took at school were always in color. I must have spent a day or two in my art project. But all the struggle in the world could not keep me from finishing this task, which I would so greatly rejoice.
There were days when the screams in the kitchen, living room, or in my parents’ bedroom stopped. I was relieved, for I could be alone in peace for some time. When they were silent I never noticed the absence of their voices, but rather noticed other sounds. Snik. Snik. Snik. Trat. Trat. The furniture spoke. Tap. Trap. Trak. Tranquility hit and infected me whenever I heard such music. I began to notice it better, and to this day I reflexively connect that sound to a feeling of peace. I loved that furniture onomatopoeia. Life.
After a long and quiet afternoon of paintings, my father passed by me quenching his thirst, as usual. He was in his underwear, just like it happened after the furniture spoke. I, still focused, continued to do my work.
He was just passing by.
“Excellent!” I thought, because I wanted to surprise him.
He glanced at me, then looked back down the hall—which I thought was fine—and gave one more step. But then he froze. He stood there for two or three seconds. Maybe five. What was he thinking? What would he do? Why did he stop? Keep walking! But he turned his eyes to me... red eyes, now.
My father twisted his body quickly, dropping the glass bottle that fell and broke on the floor. Some of the colored water fell on me and its strong scent hurt me somehow. It went up my nose and seemed to poison every small part of my head. How strong that was. The sound then only seemed to multiply such a synesthetic effect on me.
I immediately handled him the album.
It wasn’t complete.
But he would like it.
He had to like it!
He stretched his hand. How nice.
But he didn’t touch the album.
It seemed to me like a miscalculation, for it hit my face.
– Dad, I made this for you! – I insisted. And I smiled with joy. A hand again missed the album, which I held tightly with my two hands not to ruin it by letting it touch the colored water, and to deliver—from me to my father—the gift that would bind us forever. A first bridge between such distant margins.
Then a red droplet fell on the still black and white part.
I looked up to the ceiling but there were no leaks.
My father’s drink on the floor seemed to have a golden color, perhaps even brown. It couldn’t be the liquid dripping. But then where did such a red droplet come from?
Suddenly, two more droplets fell on the album.
“Daddy’s going to be very angry,” I thought.
When I looked into his eyes I saw growing red veins next to his dilated iris and I couldn’t stop asking myself: did they come from there? Was my father crying blood? And what would that smell and metallic taste in my mouth suddenly be?
“What do you think you’re doing, you s*n of a b%$#?” – “One of the magic words!” I thought. “But then, is he angry?” Just then I realized I was getting spanked. - Wh-What... – A slap. – do yo-ou... – Another slap. – thin-k... – One more, with the fist. “you-are...” My right eye closed, I couldn’t open it, my head kept swinging until it hit the floor and the smell of my father’s drink contaminated my soaked nostrils. – DOING???!!!
Just then, my mother came into the room... naked.
– What do you think you’re doing?! You’re going to kill him!!! Fu#k!
My mother is talking about me. That suddenly made me very happy. How satisfying it was to exist in her eyes, even though she had also used the language of hatred. They both paid attention to me. I unintentionally smiled.
– Shut up, woman!!! It’s your fault that we have to endure this. – What were they talking about? – I told you to get an abort#%&! – Is that another magic word? – And now he destroyed the only thing I had from when we were... when we were... we were... happy.
I handled my mom the album.
– Look, he’s even laughing... – My father pointed at me with his sharp index finger.
I thought that, because we were together for a long time, this should prove that we loved each other, by itself. Even though... we never said that to each other. The secret silence. “Why?”
– It’s just photos, d#@mit!
– Of course it’s not just fuc&i*% photos!!! My father’s voice faltered, and despite the rivers of blood on his eyes, a clear droplet rolled down his face. He looked exhausted. He took a deep breath and started again. – Only photos?! You don’t understand a fuc&%ng thing at all! – My father then looked at me... with a look he never had before. Wide-eyed. I entered into the darkness of his eyes like I did with the children who visited us. However, instead of asking questions about an optical bridge, I now heard them. – Why, of all the children who knocked on our door in search of their father, did I have to choose the most retarded of them!?
Then I discovered that my father had moved on to another stage, another unknown level of human behavior. He didn’t even need to use the “magic word,” all he had to do was look at me for me to know that... for me to be aware once and for all of his inexorable resignation, from then on... My father hated me from the bottom of his heart.
However, that look, though sharp on the scarred skin of my chest, was overridden by another thought, which was accompanied by a flooding not of anger, nor hatred, not even disgust, anger, fury, or loathing. It was something I simply couldn’t control. A black flame filled with emptiness to suck me into myself, to consume me in the fire just by another hellish touch of his skin. So, there, I also reached another stage of myself, a negativity of the passive flame that I felt for so long. Thus, in that incipient scorching of this new feeling, I named it: abhorrence.
– So... – The faces of all the boys who knocked the door of our house and stared at me, ran me over in my mind. They were there, staring at me in that silence of looks, in that waiting for an answer, an action, a simple word, a hammer. I saw them calm, being kicked out from my house at screams, running with the same look on their faces... the same look of hopelessness, like a punch from my father. – You mean I have brothers and sisters?
There was silence in my parents’ orbits and voices. Their bodies were paralyzed.
Time stood still.
Their eyes, wide open like never before, showed me the surprise of having brought such a subject to my parents. Such emptiness was extended among us in unimaginable proportions to me. While I lived with them not knowing who they were, none of that kept me from loving them. However, the understanding of spiritual acoustics came to me as a glimmer of wisdom. For no matter what was said, it would never reach its destination—neither from me to them, nor from them to me. The emptiness was in fact insurmountable. Addressing them was akin to moving away from them. And that, in turn, only showed me the root, the trunk and all the branches of the black tree of the true horror I had discovered.
I ran out of the house.
“I lost friends to stay with my family...”
I ran down another street.
“I lost my dolls to stay with my family...”
I ran into a vacant lot.
“I was alone all this time to stay with my family... “
I went up the neighborhood’s old antenna.
“I have brothers and shouldn’t live alone, but my parents denied me my family, and I also denied everything to be with them.”
Water was falling off the antenna, but it wasn’t raining.
At the top, I saw in the distance—with the only eye that I could still open—the sun burning like me, small. Half of it. A divided family, broken. Half of it had died, there. The other part of the family, and the other part of me. In that high place, I found the forgotten bottom. And like it happened when I ate, I mentally pointed to the top of my head and said, “I am up to here,” knowing it was time. I couldn’t stand it any longer. Being aware of my childishness, I became an adult. My childhood had finished at that very moment.
Then I shouted to God the notice of such a moment with the “magic word,” the secret language of the adults, in the voice of hatred: