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Only the ceiling was functional

“I know you noticed that when I was born, a crooked angel, one of those who live in the shadows, also came to whisper words in my ear. Only now I realize that this text is going to be very long, almost a moral ‘historia calamitatum’ (and not physical, thanks, if you know what I mean). I therefore close for the moment, and I promise to continue for those who have followed me here, the chronicle of my disappointments and, believe me, of a fleeting revelation that might have redeemed me.”

In my previous text, “Corro Jardins”, I thus concluded the first part of the chronicle about my love illusions and disappointments. Where did I stop? Oh, yes, I studied law and barely noticed that R. had invaded my life, tearing down walls and occupying towers. I spent many years with R.; the future would bring, so we thought, marriage and children, but I feel today that even at that time she and I saw that there was some equipment that was not working well in our relationship. Anyway, after love came a certain break: a few years of habit and a kind of calm that kept us together. And after the calm… Well, we’ll get there soon – the fact is, with R. I knew that the calm after the storm isn’t always a good time to be alive. The supposedly quiet eye of the hurricane is still surrounded by a hurricane.

After graduating, the years continued with more or less long courtships. However, I come out ahead because I went with R., used to some medium between happiness and messy moments, and then I met L., who made me love intensely again. To L. I was vile: I betrayed R. For half a year or so I maintained both relationships because I felt obliged to fulfill a marriage I had promised. In one night, in a single night, all the charm for L. disappeared, and I came back to love R. as I had loved her in the first months of their courtship; Despite renewed efforts, however, what followed was not another storm-of-love-quiet-storm-of-hate cycle, it was more like a stage of anger-hate-disgust. We had the bad idea to create an apartment, a loft with only four rooms, all modern and functional: we stayed there for five sad months. Functional and modern was only the ceiling, we ourselves had become dysfunctional and anachronistic. With R., then, I took a full course of love and its antagonistic complement, aversion; and by L. I learned what I should never have learned, to be vile. But what to do? “And I, so often bad, so often swine, so often loathsome,/ I so often irresponsibly parasitic,/ Unforgivably dirty,/ I who have so often not had the patience to take a bath,/ I who have so often been ridiculous, absurd, / That I have publicly rolled my feet in the blankets of labels, / That I have been grotesque, petty, submissive and arrogant.” Because I was disgusting – and so often miserable, so often a pig.

After R., already graduated, another R. (mystics will note that R., F. and M. are initials repeated here; because I assure you it is a coincidence and not some kind of psychiatric problem – my questions doctors are different and none involve obsession with names, I assure you again…). R. gave birth to a gigantic force in me to fight for what I wanted. I insisted, I showed myself, I strutted (now a good peacock and not the peacock from the previous text). I insisted again, I argued, I arranged armies in a wedge formation, I fought open warfare and also carried out a close guerrilla encirclement. Something in me was appreciated by R., maybe that strength during the fight, but I’m not sure – I know it worked. We loved each other for about three years. There was also going to be a wedding but… We had an argument and I remember engagement rings being thrown away in a sewer. And what did I do? I insisted, I argued, I arranged armies in a wedge formation, I fought open warfare and also conducted a closed guerrilla encirclement. I showed myself and strutted around. And we love each other no more: then I demobilized the forces and collected the weapons. “Never again,” thought the crow and I; at any rate, if R. is gone, the strength that I draw upon in times of crisis remains. From R. I thus have the knowledge I have about my inner powers.

Rings thrown down the drain, I welcomed total disillusionment as an intimate companion; In other words: I fell for scorn. Do I confess? I confess: love was paid; there was love for women that I never saw again, there was… There was much I am ashamed of; with lawlessness I learned to be ashamed again.

A strange series of very, very fleeting calls followed. Friends wanted me and D. to get to know each other, we agreed to the venture, and the predictable disaster struck: it was with D. that I learned that meetings arranged by third parties do not work. K. was an impossibility due to work; J., an architect, was love for two weeks; with R. (another one…) I destroyed an old friendship because of a month of love, the love limited because we knew we were killing the sincere friendship. With B., the French B., I exchanged long letters; However, I still suffered from old and unhealed feelings and could not be the promise that B. had seen in me. Z. passed and I barely caught a glimpse of her.

W. brought me desire and hatred: she wanted me and then a friend. C. the intensity was condensed for a short period: she asked me to marry her, and refusing such an offer, as you know, changes the initial good feelings… G. proved to be durable and capable of a devotion, who sometimes still tries to show himself; M. was such a disastrous mistake that I can only believe that I spent three months under the influence of alcohol. R. (yes, it sounds like a joke…) it was a failed attempt; from E. I got vague promises, a long-awaited kiss and then nothing more.

With L. I tried to get out of the whirlpool I had entered; the problem was that it promised freedom but created confusion. Still, we were together for about a year, back and forth. Separated from her, I made the mistake of looking for M., whom I had known as L., and who had also separated. To be honest, M. and I lived a great banality for about a year, and M. ended up proving to me that Heraclitus (really Heraclitus?) is right there: In the banalities of life, the gods also live. His homework, however, went further than that; we broke up in one day and two days later she was with one of my friends; the girlfriend regretted it and also ended up with what he had with her, whatever it was. There I wandered home, doubly betrayed as I had been; the friend slowly resumed friend status, despite certain reservations that settled between us, and I haven’t heard from her again (she’s been triple betrayed…).

U., handsome, intended to take revenge on his inattentive lover. L., art dealer, just wanted to sell paintings while he had a little fun with me. With W., formerly Miss and now enjoying a successful academic career, there were volcanoes erupting; at M. there was not what our wounded hearts desired. B. was the wonder of the young woman and another world: in her there was no trace of jealousy. A. was strong love, there were moments of discovery and an end was announced: I warned her that the day would come when she would be angry with me – and the day came, as fearless as Muhammad Ali. Another A. brought me new layers of nastiness: she loved me; I didn’t love her. With P. I did not understand that she was not looking for fun, but stability; I see her from time to time with her current boyfriend, she seems happy and also seems to hold some grudge against me (or not: it’s also possible that she doesn’t even think about me and our past). MA fought martial arts; the problem was that she also struggled with verbal art, and every time we saw each other. L. and R. were two burning stars that soon disappeared. J. brought me another bad face: she waited patiently and I only called out of hours, not exactly homesick. With another B., two or three years with a strange love, really into me, and I don’t know if reciprocated by her. We live together and I was irritated by her lack of initiative, she was on a sort of gap year that seemed to last until she turned 70; we fought, she moved out of town, and I’m happy to tell the world that she finished her gap year (or three gap years, to be honest).

Confused and aimless, I didn’t notice S., who could have been so much… S. was a contradiction, mainly because of me: fulfilled and unfulfilled love, closeness and distance, joy and melancholy, contentment and frustration. And a big mismatch: when she was single, I wasn’t; obviously you already know that there is inversion in this sentence. What could we have been? If everything in us was a self-denying impulse, I suppose we’ll never know now. Puzzled we went.

Too messy? Calm Down: There is a purpose to this role that will reveal itself in its third installment. Then it’s time to end it, or start the beginning of the end, so to speak. Before… N. and C. were famous actresses, I think what they dedicated to me came because I didn’t care about other people’s fame. Finally, I remember those I met abroad and joined them in two, let’s say, archetypal women: the slender Italian M. (I imitate Machado de Assis and I can say: M. loved me for two months and a few hundred euros) , and Catalan I., who gave me guard lessons in Blanes, Lloret de Mar, Cadaqués, Sant Feliu and many other places with such evocative names; above all, I learned the oath of allegiance of Catalonia in the Middle Ages to the Spanish monarch: “We, who are as good as you, swear to you, who are no better than us, to accept you as our king and sovereign lord, as long as you comply with all our freedoms and laws – otherwise no.”

In the midst of so much chaos, there were still numerous denials, failed approaches, dinners where I was less friendly than I should have, and friends’ rude attempts to introduce me to someone: a fair list of failures, a short list of successes. For many years I say that I forgot Father Antônio Vieira, to whom I always re-read: “All true joy comes from the inside and from the guts”. And it is better to end the list here; like in Otto Guerra’s little book, I’m almost writing an “autopornography”, not an autobiography… I don’t think I need to say: this whole list here represents snapshots of a life carried by the taste of the wind and of a minimal voluntary agency; if I did and still do snapshots (“snapshots”: here’s a little word that I can’t find a translation as high as the original word), I can’t be completely sure.

But… what if in the world there is the possibility of some security, even if it is permanent? Well, half startled, without plans, an epiphany came to me: I therefore realized that the time had come to add synapses to the systoles – let’s wait for the third and last part of this story to know famous epiphany.

*I repeat the last warning I made in the first part of this text. I read many years ago a feature or essay called, I think, “Them,” and certainly there are echoes of it in my “Them”; or perhaps the essay was in Portuguese and also titled “Elas”. As I accumulated hours of reading essays, I couldn’t find it today; So here I give this confession of influence or even – is it? — of an almost plagiarism, because that text did not remain in my memory, and I kept only its general idea from it.

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