David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

The cat of Paraná Village

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Cherubim heard gunshots followed by meowing. Outside, on the sandy dirt road, Ranulph did not move, and was sprawled over a portion of sibipiruna’s fine sheets. His mouth was still hanging open, exposing the pain of death not even spared the most innocent beings.

The boy tried to stop crying because he was afraid to look too sentimental. Cherubim made so much effort that the hot tears, that threatened to drain the corners of the eyes, disappeared without gaining the principle of freedom.

Angry, Cherubim noted Matias on the mango tree, smiling and aiming the shotgun in his direction. “Do you want too? I give you, muggle!”, warned the boy. Cherubim said nothing. Only scratched his head, regardless of the dusty cloud that was forming around his head like orange mist.

Keeping his back in front of the killer, the boy crouched and made caresses on the cat’s belly. The kitten no longer felt Cherubim’s hands on his clear fur. Where there was a pair of blue eyes, it remained a small shapeless mass. Two bashful tears fell, moistening the cat’s dry mouth. It was too late.

The hours passed away, and the nature buried Ranulph, covering his body with sandy soil, gradually transported from the forest by south wind. “Cherubim! Take this animal here. It will start to stink”, they said. He just nodded his head in agreement, without even moving his legs that rested on the curb.

When the earth, dragged by gale, invaded the cat’s mouth, the boy approached and cleaned it using a washcloth moistened with water. In the late afternoon, he tried to bury Ranulph in his mother’s garden. He was reprimanded as he was digging the earth with his grandfather’s trowel. “Are you mad, boy?! This is no place to bury an animal!”, complained his grandfather.

The old man picked up the dead cat by the back skin and put him into a thick dark bag. It looked like a cadaver pouch in PVC. He hung the bag on the handlebars of the bike, and rode to a vacant lot used as a garbage dump in the nearest neighborhood. He returned without a word, walked into the kitchen, took a bitter sip of coffee and laid down on the hammock.

Cherubim was watching the old man, wondering what he did to Ranulph. Without the courage to ask, he recalled a law imposed in Paraná village in the 1970s, when three large dogs killed two babies. “No one can come here with animals. If someone kills an animal, nobody can cry or bury him, or they will have to deal with me”, said Mandino Counselor, whom the population resorted to whenever there was a problem in the neighborhood.

Under a papaya tree, Cherubim watched his grandfather sleep on the hammock. He cried and shouted with his hands in his mouth. The boy also lashed his own legs and back with the papaya branches. No one listened. The welts multiplied. He did not care. He lay on the ground and felt a bitter taste in his mouth, a mixture of dirt and blood.

He woke up at down, lying on his old mattress, wrapped in a dirty white sheet and full of holes. Through the orifice in the roof, the sun illuminated a dog food packet flanked by a water bowl. Cherubim got up and ran to the shack entrance, where he lived with his mother and his grandfather. The hovel threatened to fall for years, but resisted.

He sat on the floor and used a piece of stick to draw Ranulph. After he was finished, he dozed a little, with his back propped up on a wooden fence with barbed wire. In his dream, he heard a purr that prickled him. He opened his eyes and under his left hand, Ranulph was marking his territory again, rubbing his dirt and soft fur on him.

The smell of garbage went unnoticed, not the hunger meowing. Crying, Cherubim held the blind and overwrought cat in his arms. He took him into the house, and there they stayed the rest of the day. The Ranulph and Cherubim story changed Paraná Village in the late 1990s: “Who does not see love in an animal, does not see love itself,” said Mandino’s son.

Written by David Arioch

October 9th, 2016 at 11:24 am

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