David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

The love and the pomegranate

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I never understood how love, so colorful symbolically, could have baleful constitution

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I continued visiting mister Ofer until 1993, when we lived in Progress Garden

Throughout life, many times I’ve heard someone saying that love, mistaken for passion, is overwhelming, as if made of sparks of foolishness. When it comes, makes you blind and averse to sense and reason of serene things. It consumes you unexpectedly, leaving your lips parched as dashed ground by severe drought. I’ve heard many stories in my town about suicide for love; people jumping from buildings, throwing their cars against trees, hanging themself, consuming strychnine and shooting themselves in the head. I never understood how love, so colorful symbolically, could have baleful constitution.

Love should not be like mourning, a sorrow manifest. Neither deserves to be related to death if it embraces in essence the fearlessness of light. The heart that loves in abnegation only darkens when it stops beating, irremediable fact of our epilogue. But while living is colorful and robust as a mango harvested in march. It is beyond good and evil. Love is beautiful in literalness, in the purity of its semantics. Not so unilaterally or less distorted and depreciated by clumsiness, confabulations and deconstructions of sense.

Not that there is no pain in love, after all it is inherent to life and sends us iterated signals that suffering also dignifies the existence; teaches that we are defectives, fragile and ephemeral as all beings that inhabit the Earth. However, a feeling becomes harmful only if we allow it to. At least that’s what my life shows me since I started to recognize its entanglement and depth.

When I was seven years old, I lived with my parents in an old house on Pernambuco Street. At the time, a part of the population of my town still had the custom to hold funerals in the own residence hall. One day, across the street, just over 50 meters from home, walking and moving the fingers of the right hand by the wall painted with lime, I stopped in front of a gate where I saw and heard people in a shy crying, talking and scratching their eyes.

They were around a glossy black coffin that looked like a newly unmeasured greased shoe. The room was small and the people, depending on the height, almost rubbed the navel and chest at the deceased’s head to get to the bathroom.  Because of the distance, I could not see her face covered by a snowy cloth that more resembled a bridal veil. I knew she was a woman because I remember when someone said that the deceased was mistress Stela. “Hey, they will bury her with that party cloth?”, I asked myself in a burst of spontaneity and simplicity.

The next morning, when I went out to buy bread, I found mister Ofer, the husband of mistress Stela, walking slowly, laughing alone, and without pointing eyes to anything that surrounded him near a bakery at the Federal Avenue. It seemed like a solemn trance and perhaps meaningless in the strangers conception. I approached, greeted him, and in a typically thoughtless act of a child, I asked: “Mister Ofer, your wife died yesterday, so why are you laughing?”

So he kept quiet for three or four seconds as he watched me and straightened the last button of his flowered shirt, such that retirees use when they go on vacation to a tropical paradise. His complexion and his eyes sparkled so much that I could see my little reflection distorted in his almond-shaped velvety pupils.

“Look, David, you’re still too young, I don’t know if you will understand, but I will reveal to you a secret. I’m not happy, but I committed to rediscover a new direction in my life. Before Stela died, she knew how much I was dependent on her. She was my first and only companion for more than 40 years, since we were teenagers. So you know what she did when she became ill and they told her she wouldn’t live long? She was not lamented. She took a notebook from inside the nightstand, picked up a pen and planned my life, day by day for the next five years. She always knew that I am a mess. She said it was for me to follow straight, so I wouldn’t feel lost. If I started a new life, I could leave the notebook. Otherwise, I just needed to restart the tasks. The first day is today. Take a look!”

I took the notebook with both hands and there were the first suggestions. “Dear Ofer, my great love, get up tomorrow, take a good bath, wear the flowered shirt that is on the first hanger, put on the beige shorts in the second drawer and the almond sandals that are in the first row of the shoe rack. Walk slowly to the bakery and smile. Remember the first time we met, when we got married and when Laura was born. Be sure to smile, even if the people judge you. Ignore all the negativity. Sooner or later this exercise will brighten your heart, turning pain into a new form of love. ”

I returned the notebook and walked to the bakery. There, he bought me a snack and a soda. He preserved the smile most of the time, even when he reported the difficulties in the 1950s. “Our house was practically a shack. We had no fridge, so I only could buy food that did not spoil quickly. We were young, very young, but we were happy in a little place in the woods, “he said, already teary eyed.

On the way back, I noticed that while he was walking, mister Ofer fondly massaged his wedding ring on his left hand. There was a warm and stuffy silence like a diving suit that blended the sounds of motorcycles, cars and trucks crossing the Federal Avenue. Suddenly the uncomfortable smell was overshadowed by a uniform and subtle scent of a blue lily bouquet transported on foot by a young employee of a flower shop. “It is her favorite. Stella called it a Blue Darling”, commented mister Ofer in a laconic laughter.

In front of his house we said goodbye. When I was leaving, he yelled my name and asked me to await. Soon he returned with pomegranates in his hands, picked from his backyard. “That never miss love in your home as never lacked in mine,” he said with a candid smile. I continued visiting mister Ofer until 1993, when we lived in Progress Garden. Over time, my routine changed and his too, then we lost contact.

One day in 2002, I received a letter signed by his daughter Laura, who lived in Curitiba for more than 15 years. I thought the correspondence was sent by mistake because I no longer remembered her. When I opened the envelope, I found pomegranate seeds, brought from Palestine, and a small letter. “My dear and good friend David, all that dies today reborns tomorrow, if the heart accepts it. Never forget that even the Dead Sea couldn’t overshadow the scent of pomegranates that radiated to Jericho”, wrote mister Ofer.

Written by David Arioch

September 23rd, 2016 at 11:17 pm