February 1, 2013
Rich people’s mansions are like photographs stuck on a book which doesn’t belong here. We took a shortcut in the green and the red of a dirt road and suddenly we saw a bunch of tents. They were clean and tidy and most of all, well set up. Some of them were gazebos and there were cars parked nearby.
– Gypsies live here. – Perse said.
Gypsies with cars like those? The cars parked there seemed to have just exited the car dealership. I even saw some pick-up trucks.
In a way, this was the best part of my life with Persefone in Brazil. It includes the first nine months, maybe eight. In that time, she showed me the places she grew up in, her friends, family and the marvelous details of her magic land. I look to those days with a sense of both regret and disappointment. Regret because we were happy, disappointment because I could have given more value to what she was doing for us all. But this is a personal thought and a quite premature one.
Remembering those days is like being transported there once again and I still imagine my Persefone standing on the balcony and looking down at me, smiling. Her smile was the best reward for a rainy day. I’ll keep that in my heart and mind forever, it is sweet and tearing at the same time. Those two people, walking hand in hand, they don’t exist anymore but they once have been. They were alive and loving each other.
We went to see the site Perse owns, her lot. When she saw that more houses had been built all around and the lake area opposite the lot had been renovated by adding also a little park, she decided not to sell it anymore. The lot that shared the border of Perse’s on one side, which she had bought with her ex-boyfriend when they still were together and planning their future, had been closed by walls. Her ex-boyfriend had married a Sicilian well-to-do girl; this was maybe the cause of the fast and efficient uplifting of the walls.
At the time we went visiting the site, Perse owned two. One was that which I am writing about here, the other was in the city of Caldas Novas. Even if she said she wouldn’t sell the site opposite the lake in Piracanjuba, a few months later she closed the deal and with the money, she invested on the shop we were planning to open. The shop that would give us a chance to have a life, after years of struggles. She put all her energies and dedication into making this dream come true, months paying the rent way before opening, because we had to secure the place and paying lazy workers who never finished the job and when they did, it was half wrong, so we had to hire somebody to break and rebuild. I saw her quarreling with idiot-faced men who were just stealing our money and disappeared soon after. I would have liked to shout and insult those jerks, but she restrained me.
– Don’t make a scene, it’ll be worse. – she whispered.
That was the beginning of it all. Of our little tragedy and of our end.
Welcome to the sixth installment of the Rainbow, a series of excerpts from a journal I kept during my three years of life in the inland of Brazil, with my wife and kids. It is right to say that Perse and I will always have Brazil and she agrees with me about the first part of our life there being the best ever. It was the part of discovery, of us dreaming our future and making our plans. It was almost paradise.
Oh, Lord, were we mistaken?
The excerpts above, written in italic, are taken from the memoir “The End of the Rainbow”. If you liked the excerpts, please leave your comment as a vote to see the full-length book published.
Thank you and have a great day!