A family is not a family without some issues. And a killer inside of it.
Welcome to Beam number 7, the new installment in the Rainbow series, a collection of articles inspired by my memoir “The End of the Rainbow”, which chronicles my three long, but fast-paced years spent in the inland of Brazil. Why a Beam, you may ask? Well, my life in Brazil has been a journey in a multifaceted culture, brazilians are a blend of various races and customs, some of them local and some of them inherited by colonialists. There are indios but also African, Dutch, Italian, German and Japanese descendants. I call brazilians the Rainbow people, because they sum up all the races of the world and their country is full of signals of their international legacy. Hence the Rainbow and hence the Beams. Each article is called Beam and represents a peculiar episode of my memoir. The journey covers a year’s timespan and each Beam is published every Monday. Today, I am talking about a very serious topic; death threats. But not common death threats (as if there were common ones, huh?), but these threats came from a very close relative. My wife’s brother. The following story happened during Year One of my Brazil residency and all was still new to me. Either the good and the bad.
Please, enjoy the Beam.
The evil brother and the bastard daughter
My former wife Persefone is an only child. Even so, she has eleven brothers and sisters, from both bloodlines of her family; her mother’s Geovana and her father’s Getúlio. The difference between Persefone’s brothers and sisters from her mother’s and her father’s sides is the same difference between good and evil. In this case, evil is represented by the youngest brother from Getúlio’s lineage, Reagan.
Mr. President, as I called him all along, is a man with no morals. When Getúlio died, he installed himself into his father’s house, kicking out ol’ Marta, Getúlio’s companion for more than thiry years and putting for rent all his father’s properties and keeping all the money to himself. He threatened all his brothers and sisters into staying away from the heritage and since they are all well-to-do people associated with Brazil’s government, they didn’t care minding their own business. But Persefone was raised in poverty by Geovana, so that money could make a difference in her life. Persefone always has been considered as the bastard daughter of Getúlio’s by all of his children; the only one born from an escapade. They saw her as the fruit of their father’s betrayal and never was accepted into the family.
Reagan called her telling to sign herself off of the right to inherit her part, but Perse strongly refused. At which, Reagan replied:
“Remember, I know where your mother and kids live.”
The calling of the blood
Perse had a panic attack that brought consequences for over a week. What would you do if you were her? Call the police? Mr. President had taken lives in the past, had escaped police hiding in the woods for weeks, feeding on wild animals and bathing in rivers. He didn’t care about police at all, he was ready to draw the gun in the middle of the town fair. And most of all, Persefone was in Italy when she received that phone call, an ocean away from home and her kids and family.
How could we lead with that?
When Marcos, the only brother from Geovana’s side, got to know about Reagan’s threats, he had already unwrapped his rifle.
“Please don’t.” Persefone said. “Violence only will lead to more violence. If you kill him, others will come to kill you and our mother is not going to bear all this.”
When I heard about this conversation, I was not ready to absorb it. I was raised in Italy, Europe, a First World country, I was accustomed to a certain kind of civilization and I had never heard of common people to own guns and using them. Let alone among members of the same family. It was total nonsense and madness to me.
The man who flees
Once, Perse and I went visiting our friend Rafael at the furniture shop he was working at. Perse was examining a wadrobe when she perceived an old man bent down caressing a sofa by her side. He looked up and saw her. It was Reagan. They barely had the time to exchange looks that he turned away and exited the shop. Perse just kept looking at his back until he disappeared down the road.
The same scene repeated in the Clocktower Square.
Perse, the kids and I were walking down the sidewalk towards uptown, when Eloise spotted Reagan coming up from the opposite direction. The sidewalk made a bend where we were headed and Reagan saw us where the path became linear again. I didn’t have the time to make out his features that he abruptly turned, crossed the street and reached the other side. We saw him climbing into his pick-up truck, start it and fart away.
Perse stood still watching him go for the second time in a row. A subtle smile lingering on her face.
The third time we had a close encounter with Mr. President was at the town fair. He was just walking around, doing nothing. I hadn’t even noticed him, it was Perse who told me. When I saw him, he was a few feet from me and he had just put his sunglasses on. It was the first time I saw him from a very short distance and I noticed he was quite short, fat and old. He walked a little further, letting the crowd confound him a little bit and then stared back. Even if he wore sunglasses, I knew it was us he was looking at. And guess what? Soon after, he was gone.
For the third time, which turned out to be the last one, Perse saw him go. And this time she laughed.
“I knew it.” she said.
“What?” I asked.
“He’s a coward. A little, mediocre and meaningless man. A simple coward. He’s good at speaking, threatening people with bad words and the bad guy’s loud voice, but when it comes to the face to face, he’s a rabbit.”
We didn’t hear of him again. Even if we knew we would face him, sooner or later, because Persefone never let go of her heritage; it would help for the ear surgery for our son. We needed the money in order for him not to become deaf from one ear.
“This proves the thesis that evil persons are mediocre.” Persefone said. “I always said that to you, remember?”
I smiled, because I heard that coming from somebody else, years before.
“Yes, I do, my love.”
This story happened a long time ago, where we were a couple, united and fighting for our greater good. Today, we like to help each other as good old friends do, because love can wither away, but friendship and respect, they last forever.
The story above is inspired by the memoir “The End of the Rainbow”, a journal I kept during my three years of life in the inland of Brazil. In that time, I learned a lot. About me. And also about the world I live in and the people within.
If you liked the story and are willing to read the full-length memoir, please leave your comment as a vote to see the book published.
Thank you and have a great day!