David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

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Cemetery assault

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Noah came behind me, tapped my shoulder twice and gave me an invitation

 I was in the Municipal Cemetery of Alto Paraná talking to a stranger named Noah (Photo: David Arioch)

I was in the Municipal Cemetery of Alto Paraná talking to a stranger named Noah (Photo: Copy)

On a normal day, still far from the Holiday of Finados (Day of the Dead), I was in the Municipal Cemetery of Alto Paraná talking to a stranger named Noah. A short distance from the entrance, we were talking about life and death, while few people came in and came out of the place.

The weather was still mild and the sun had not shown up that morning, making me see everything in front of me as if I were surrounded by a gothic painting, where the low light lauded the shadows and showed, an in unusual way, tombs, crosses, people and animals that composed those typically christian scene.

For a moment, I rubbed my eyes and realized that the fact that everything look bigger was not an illusion, but a temporary manifestation of nature, able to belittle or enhance humans in many different ways, simply by manipulating the weather, time and spatial sense.

I noticed that it had been raining for the past few days, and the trees that surrounded the cemetery exuded perfume of bark and roots, a blended fragrance, that confused even the best apothecaries. One of them, occasionally swayed the branches and dripped on my head, as if to warn me about something.

I just rubbed my hands on my damp hair, and occasionally I heard Noah reporting his adventures while he was traveling on horseback on dirt roads, and sleeping on graves of abandoned cemeteries. Once, he woke up with phalanges of a corpse on his chest. He never knew how those bones ended up over his body.

In a moment of silence, I heard the song of a trogon with a bronze chest. On a lofty cross, he seemed lost in thought, watching me as the mist veiled his feet. “Have you heard of Pragueira Verduga?”, asked Noah, diverting my attention from the bird. I said no and he told me that it’s a worm that gnaws bronze plates whenever the humidity is too high.

When I left and walked toward the parking lot, where there was no one, Noah came behind me, tapped my shoulder twice and gave me an invitation: “Man, let’s go there to pick up some bronze plaques. I believe there is some very good stuff. Let’s go?” Astonished, I did not believe what I heard. Then, he insisted on the offer and I promptly refused.

His countenance changed quickly. The serene and thoughtful mien was replaced by a withering look and a wicked laugh. Noah tilted his head toward his feet and said with a sardonic smile: “Alright! But I have a present for you. I call it the Philosophy of Gunpowder. It burns instantly, allowing a new kind of understanding of life.”

Inert, I watched Noah showing a caliber .38 revolver wrapped in a piece of orange flannel inside his backpack. Without hesitation, he ordered me to give two thousand dollars kept in my wallet. “I don’t have this money in my wallet. Where did you get that idea?, I asked. Noah said he had a vision of someone with my profile come to the cemetery in the morning, carrying $2,000. I opened my wallet and showed that I had only $200.

I put the money over a short wall and threw my wallet at his feet, so that he looked at the content. Angered, Noah took aim the gun at me. I did not run or threaten to attack him. I simply kept my eyes toward him as my legs seemed to dissolve, wanting to immerse into the moist dappled soil. “Maybe I’ll become something that springs from the earth, or I will disappear as a fuse of the gunpowder that will invade me”, I thought, before I lose myself in a vacuum where existence and nonexistence look also like insomniacs.

Noah pulled the trigger, but there were no bullets, and he did not know that. He ran to the side of the road, entered in a hearse, and disappeared. My $200 was still on the short wall where the breeze moved everything, with the exception of the notes. After, I took my wallet and my money, I went to the landfill near the cemetery. There, I handed the money to the children who were looking for something salvageable from the debris. In the same week, I read in the newspaper that Noah returned to the Our Home Psychiatric Hospital, of Loanda.

Written by David Arioch

October 30th, 2016 at 11:51 am