David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

Smell of grass

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He made unusual noises, contorting his mouth, frowning and craning his neck

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He ran two kilometers on foot without knowing that they’d never let him go (Photo: Cultural Foundation of Paranavaí)

In 1949, on a cold and especially dark morning, Nicanor woke up scared and struggling to move. He felt the rust smell of his own dried blood that covered part of his cheekbones and chin. The nauseating odor numbed him, and made him weep to the point of the thick parched blood turned into balls that crashed against the dirt floor. In sandy soil, they were joining and forming a larger and opaque sphere as a ground ball, like children shape to throw in friends and neighbors.

Hoarse, feverish and with only one feebly eye open, the boy had no strength to articulate a word without stammering and feeling a tremor that began on his heels and ended at his neck. When he shook his legs in vain, he felt his blackened fingers, thick-skinned, sprung out of the white sandals tatters. Unintentionally, he touched a fetid paste that was formed from his feces, urine and blood. He suffered so much in recent days that he unlearned to cry.

He made unusual noises, contorting his mouth, frowning and craning his neck. With the strength that remained, he strove, trying to see something by an elongated spacious crack. Nicanor lusted after a little sunshine, but the only occasional visitor was a random blast of glacial and searing wind that touched his skin with the delicacy of the blade knife.

Sometimes, he shook his head and gazed at the ceiling, watching the holes where rainwater invaded the old ranch which was previously used for coffee storage. After all, he saw some beauty in chance and he was grateful because of it. If it were not for the invasion of nature, he would complete 23 days without feeling the water anointing his lips. Each drop was sucked with the satisfaction of who drank water from a robust and overflowing mug.

However, his mood oscillated with the hours. In early night without rain, only the song of the cicadas and the treble shrieks of owls soothed him. The silence scared Nicanor because it brought the indescribable void of absence and the mourning of that was not died. Yes, it was less frightening, much less than the synchronous sound of boots approaching the old dark cottage. With his ears made anomalous by despair, Nicanor recognized by far the rinkle of a machete in friction with the parabellum shaking on a loose holster.

At such times, his eyes moistened sharply, focusing on oxytone pain on the edges, making boiling tears. The palate was so inflamed that the boy could not keep his mouth shut, like the door where four men of abyssal eyes entered once a day smiling. Sardonic, they always came by surprise. They clapped their hands and said the same words: “Hello! Is there anyone there? We are coming and we are entering, my fella.” They closed the door with an ax handle and witnessed the Nicanor agony as if they were watching a festive show.

Making a startling effort to prevent urinary incontinence, the boy invariably recognized the defeat. He was embarrassed and feeling worse than a maggot. Nicanor defecated, dirtying his legs and feet even more from rubbing on the ground and touching the soil with yellowed nails. The mockery from torturers followed interleaved quince rod blows on the inner portion of purplish thighs. When Nicanor closed his eyes and leaned his chin on his chest, one of the executioners swung the chain that bound his crossed and bloodied wrists. He woke up scared, with some faltered and narrowed muscles, especially the sphincter.

He forgot even the shabby clothes he wore for more than a month, enough time to stick onto his body as a second skin. He wished death upon hearing the crackling sound of a piece of wood on ember. He only calmed down when he saw the ominous stocky bald man, with dark teeth, get away from him carrying an orange bat. While Nicanor perished a little more, the four executioners ate corn bread with butter, and also drank a mate so hot that steam wet the flagellated hands of the boy. After the break, the four stood up, withdrew their horsewhips attached to the belt of their trousers. Then, they started the scourge that lasted more than an hour.

In a reflection of effort so dedicated that he felt something was pressing inside his skull, Nicanor remembered that a month before he explained to the boss, someone for whom he worked since 1944 on a farm, that he would change service. The boy would open his own business in the city. The man then agreed and suggested that the boy go to a ranch in the woods in the late afternoon to do the reckoning. Easygoing, he ran two kilometers on foot without knowing that they’d never let him go. Overcome by uncontrollable grief, he stammered and begged God to take him away. Then beseeched which allowed him to smell the perfume of wet grass.

At the end of the night, Nicanor had a seizure and fainted. Prostrate, with a weak pulse and beginning his end, he was dragged, like a piece of carrion, by two gunmen outside the ranch. They threw his body in the vicinity of a stream and ran, fearing for their lives, reminiscing about the old folk legend of Tabarel From Candlesticks, a mystic figure known to charge double the deaths on a fog day.

The next morning, the young man woke rubbing his hands on his body. It was hard to believe that he was still alive and that some of the injuries disappeared, as well as his severe pain. Perplexed, Nicanor looked around and put his hands on his face, free of dried up blood. He rolled over and cried like a child rediscovering the world, after intensely aspiring the scent of mellowy dewy grass that wrapped his body in a romanesque morning.

Written by David Arioch

October 13th, 2016 at 11:57 pm

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