David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

Archive for the ‘Life’ tag

The death of the lady next door

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The announcement was made by two half-blooded dogs (Painting: Jonelle Summerfield)

A lady who lived on my street died. The announcement was made by two half-blooded dogs attempting to invade the house. They howled and left claw marks on the kitchen door. In a few minutes, they carved a tangle of risks, syncretism of sadness and despair. They felt her absence before witnessing her dead, fallen in the kitchen, victim of a stroke.

Together, they dug a hole in the yard, a naive attempt to reach her. They did not let themselves down. They just left the pit when they heard someone opening the gate. It was her son. “Mother … mother … I have arrived!” Lorenzo and Matino approached the boy. With muzzles full of dirt, they barked simultaneously.

Tuneless by their fatigue and disarticulation of surprise, they lamented as orphaned children who have not yet learned to speak. Tears streamed down, as did the long, fragile howl that floated like water wires drifting uncertainly through the mouths of the wolf. The son opened the door and the dogs moved forward into the kitchen. They licked the hands of the woman who no longer existed.

The boy covered his mouth and screamed, suppressing the sound and swallowing the hot breath like a burst of fire. He wiped the tears from his T-shirt and called the Fire Department. “There is nothing more to be done.” Circling the body, Lorenzo and Matino howled again. With a husky voice, the son shouted: “Sorry, mother! Forgive me!” Without making a sound, the dogs approached and licked the boy’s hands.

With the arrival of funeral workers, they packed the body in a PVC bag and left. The son went behind, in his car, accompanied by Lorenzo and Matino. With their heads through the window, they kept howling at nothing, or at all, since life celebrates death as much as death celebrates life.

Written by David Arioch

January 18th, 2017 at 11:14 am

Dora’s destiny

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One day, Dora could not stand the pressure, and collapsed on the chilly floor of the work room


Dora decide to alleviate her own pain by committing suicide (Art: Copy)

Dora and I met in early 2008, after the death of her parents in an accident on the BR-376 highway. She was 23 years old, and she had worked at one of these telemarketing stations for three years. After the tragedy, instead of worrying about the girl, all the family moved away from her. At the same time, I was fired from the newspaper because the session where I worked was extinguished shortly after the publisher resigned.

But, it had been a long time since Dora and I met to talk, ramble and tell our plans. Inspired by James Joyce’s Dubliners, my idea was to use layoff money to travel around Ireland. To be more precise, I intended to attend shows from the post-rock band God Is An Astronaut. Furthermore, I wanted to write in a notebook, everything I saw as interesting about human behavior in the Old World, and its relation to time and the environment. I did not want to work, only to wander until the money was gone.

“I want to distance myself from everything, in order to have a chance to be reborn. Humans need to change from time to time, otherwise they can go mad or become even worse – a resigned fellow”, I said to Dora, who smiled as she lightly tapped the tips of her purple nails on the massive rustic table in the bar. She paused for a moment, stared up at the starry sky, pointed the immense moon with one of her delicate hands, lowered her almond eyes, raised them again and said, “Man, I have leukemia.”

I had no reaction, and I believed that nothing that came out of my mouth at that moment would comfort her. Then, I simply recovered my serene expression, fixed my eyes on her eyes, and I subtly touched five times her left hand that rested on the table. She understood and smiled, not saying a word. I realized that Dora did not want to talk about the disease, only to share with someone a revelation she did not dare tell anyone else.

Later, I took her home and went home thinking about how delicate her situation was. I, who had already lost my father to cancer in 1997, could never again see the disease as less than ruthless. It usurps the human being much more than life itself – annihilates its dignity. It is the reaffirmation of our weaknesses, of the end, of ephemerality.

We met for another two months, until one day, talking on the cell phone, she suggested that we should not see each other again. I ended up respecting her decision, understanding the delicacy of the situation. She no longer turned on the camera during our online conversations. She also hid the profile photo. I questioned it once and I regretted it. I did not see her anymore nor by chance. Maybe she had made the decision to leave the house just to work.

Still, I know that I would have felt like the meanest of men if I had left for my joycean journey. I gave up the trip to Ireland and started writing about Dora. We still talked quite often, and I asked her to tell me about her routine. At work, she did not tell anyone about the diagnosis of the disease and continued living as if she had no health problems. I was probably the only person who knew about her leukemia. To look at me, might have been a proof to the sum of her weaknesses.

I never asked her if she regretted telling me about the illness, but I began to realize that she felt more vulnerable in front of me. On the cell phone, her sweet voice diminished more and more, subdued by the constant contradiction of emotions. At times, distressed and confused, she called me at dawn. I barely heard her gasping breath and she hung up regretfully. Her sensibility intensified every day – to the prime of the skin.

At work, there was no respite and she did not want to admit she had leukemia. The clients, who called the call center complaining about the services, did not care about the life or emotional state of those on the other side of the line. “Are you retarded, woman? You donkey! I want my money back! I will not pay for a service I did not use!”, shouted a man, claiming that he was a judge and promised to do his best to see her fired if his problem was not resolved.

The daily complaints intensified. Within three hours, Dora was verbally insulted by up to 20 clients. Unhappy, they overflowed their personal and professional problems on the girl, criticizing her for failures that were beyond her functions. “Listen here, my dear! I’m a doctor, can you hear me? I’ve studied a lot to get where I am and it’s not going to be some kind of telemarketing girl, which has a dirty job for dumb and disqualified people, who will take advantage of me!”, said a woman who presented herself as a relative to a federal legislator.

One day, Dora could not stand the pressure, and collapsed on the chilly floor of the work room. She was pale, lips purplish, and she was cold. She took the afternoon off and went home. She went into the bedroom, sat on the bed, and stared at the reflection in the oblong mirror. She did not feel as pretty as she had before, and she began to cry, watching the tears trickling through her dimpled slits after a heavy loss of weight. She was ten pounds leaner, her hair rapidly losing volume, and hardly anyone knew what was happening to Dora – Although there were many rumours.

“She was so beautiful! What a body she had, eh? Remember the dimples? A charm! Does she suffer from anorexia nervosa? A waste! No more thighs, butt… nothing!”, spoke her boss with a colleague, without noticing the presence of Dora, who heard everything when she was going to the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet, Dora put her hands to her face. She struggled to cry, only tears were left. She was exhausted, and she felt constantly dehydrated, even though she was trying to drink a plenty of water.

She leaned forward and asked, in a small, hesitant voice, if God would take her as fast as possible if her destiny were death. For her, nothing overcame the pain caused by ignorance and human insensitivity. Leaving home has become a tortuous exercise in coping with the worst adversities.

Even in the street, strangers looked at her as if she was not a human being, but something different, innominate. “Mother, why is that girl so thin?”, asked a ten-year-old girl. “I do not know, honey! Because of her face, I suppose she has AIDS”, the woman replied instantly, believing that the distance was enough to prevent Dora from hearing the answer.

Dora quit her job as a telemarketing operator before starting her chemotherapy treatment. She locked herself indoors, surviving from savings and communicating with the world and people only through the internet and the cell phone. She also gave up treatment. Dora did not even go out to the market anymore.

She could not distinguish day and night, especially when she spent many hours lying in bed, sleeping or staring at the white ceiling, which gained uncertain forms according to the prevailing sentiment. “I will not lie, Dora. The truth is that you have from six months to a year left to live, “said the oncologist with sudden naturalness.

Refusing to receive any kind of visit for months, Dora decided to alleviate her own pain by committing suicide with rodenticide. She bought the product online and waited for its arrival. She heard someone clapping, opened the door and, for the first time in more than 50 days, Dora felt the sun touching her snowy face. It was lukewarm and caressed her fine apples. The sky was so clear that she watched closely a noisy, loving rapture of mockingbirds.

She walked to the gate, took the package from the mailman’s hand, and before entering the house, she noticed a small, black dog with only a few days to live, and his brown little eye turned upwards. He was left beside the iris beige vase, Doras’s mother’s favorite. She was surprised by the resistance of the specimen that grew bright and gallant despite the abandonment.

As soon as she opened the package, Dora broke the sealing wax and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water, when the telephone rang. “Is it Mrs. Dora? It’s the lab here. We’re calling to let you know that we need you to come here urgently. We have discovered serious errors in your exams. You’ve never had leukemia, just anemia. “

Written by David Arioch

January 17th, 2017 at 1:25 pm

A body that suffers

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I stopped walking for a few months, as soon as my body took control of my life

I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up (Art: Mindcage, by Rodrigo Aviles)

I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up (Art: Mindcage, by Rodrigo Aviles)

I woke up one day and realized that my body was no longer mine. I tried to move myself on the bed, but it did not work. I belonged to him, but he did not belong to me. So, I kept lying there, watching the ceiling amid plaintive darkness. There were misshapen and oscillating traits. No! More than that! A dense and clear filth that reminded me of those awful bacteria that I saw in biology classes in my teen years.

I had never noticed how the liner could be so dirty. I think that concentrates the core of our rotting. Or, was it my imagination? Maybe, I was the bacterium itself, graced with a panoramic view of myself. Who knows! The truth is that my breath was still stinking and noisy. It was horrible! My nose simulated a landfill, spreading slurry every exhale. And what dripped from my nose, I didn’t feel or see. After all, I was relegated to a mere spectator of the repulsive spectacle that used my body as a stage.

How I struggled to silence my mind. Of course I could not! I closed my eyes for a few minutes, and the ambient temperature dropped to five or six degrees Celsius. I shivered more by hate than cold. I was covered with a white comforter, old and dingy, with some yellowish spots – circles of piss that damn neighbor’s cat gave me as a present when he invaded my wardrobe. What a bastard!

It’s alright! Soon I forgot the cat and wanted to get up to give a lesson in mother nature. How I wish to drag her by the hair. Maybe with each wad of hair pulled out, she would rise a degree of temperature. With 15 wads, I would leave her partially bald and we would have 20 or 21 degrees. And what a victory! And I could still use those hairs to make a duster or a little curtain for a puppet show.

Rhinitis, bronchitis and sinusitis, sinusitis, bronchitis and rhinitis, it was difficult to find out who wanted to screw me up. Dammit! Who am I trying to fool? I really smoked! And I smoked a lot! I’ve consumed four packs a day! I was a chimney more effective than any iron horse ever seen. I am the greatest collector of lung diseases that this world does not know. I should be in the Guinness Book! Holding my biggest trophy, the only lung I have left, so black it looks like a post-barbecue coal.

So what? My teeth were so blond, and my breath so grody that I could make cosplay of Beetlejuice. I loved to blow smoke on the people’s face, especially those who despised smokers. I came close, like someone who did not want anything. I concentrated on the smoke and I released it just when someone would open their mouth to say something. Then, I faked embarrassment – a pair of wide eyes, a deep breath and a nod of the head, I apologized and walk away. I had so much fun when there was a no smoke free environment. Oh! Never mind… I do not want to talk about this anymore!

Look! I had never noticed how the lining gets filled with dashed lines at dawn. They are like roundworms that dominate the backstage of the house. I think I am one because I no longer feel my vertebrae. I summarize myself to a dormant emaciated matter. It may be that all that I see and contempt is, in some proportion, a representation of myself.

I wondered how many creepy, hideous creatures inhabit this place night after night. I bet if I knocked it down, I’d find hundreds of nameless animals, never cataloged. They are beings that only exist for a few hours of the dawn, when we confuse reality, dream and nightmare. It may be that they feed of hopes, daydreams, and prolonged reflections.

Right! I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up. It seemed so irrelevant, useless. “Watch your spine, correct your posture, one step after another,” How silly! I just wanted to sit and lie down, lie down and sit down. Maybe, I was born to be an armadillo. But rolling also takes so much effort that I feel shivers just imagining. And the abdominal pressure at the time of turning? Sad and painful! Being a slug is equally despicable because I’m impatient and want it all at the same time. Well, I do not feel represented by any animal, rational or not.

Dude, I love food! I fed my life so badly and it gave me the most unusual of pleasures. Where someone was feeding properly, I would approach and sit beside them. I wanted the person to be disturbed by my presence. I was a wake-up caller. I did everything I could to shock them, to see them astonished by my bad habits.

“That’s right! This is me! And I am against everything you believe in. I am here as the full proof that the world does not belong to you. The dictatorship of health will not prevail. We are still the majority and we will not be defeated. I will not allow it! Never! Never! Look! Look at his size, how much fat! I asked the clerk to put another 200 grams of bacon and 200 grams of cheddar cheese. The more industrialized the better! I demanded triple trans fat! Watch! Watch the oil trickling through the burrs of my snack. There is so much oil that we can fry a potato inside my mouth after I eat it. Do you accept it? “I suggested. Displaying my teeth caramelized by the churros that I ate before as an appetizer. Shocked, the girl next to me in the food court got up and left without a word.

Physical activities? I despised it from the first day I saw it! Wherever I passed, if someone invited me to exercise, I did not think twice before telling them to back off. What a shame! Fuck the damn thing! I will live and die as I wish! Why stand, walk or run? I hate all this with all my might! I do not even believe we were meant to walk! Whose idea was that? I hope the moron has died brutally!

Speaking of bipeds and quadrupeds, how I loved meat! I ate more than 15 pounds a week until I got atherosclerosis. Marvelous! What’s done is done. But there is no denying that it was one of the best phases of my life. When I walked through the downtown, people thought they were close to a butcher or slaughterhouse. No! There was nothing like that around us. It was the natural fragrance exhaled by my body. “What smells of raw meat, where does that come from?” “Wow! What a dead cow stink!”,”I think there’s a new butcher shop nearby”, I listened copiously.

My constant drinking also marked my life. Of course! I said it was just a social gathering. Funny! Fool of whoever believed. What I drank three times a week was what many did not consume in a month. I needed to be good at it. So I discovered an effective method to increase my tolerance for alcohol. Of course, I will not say what it is! Yes! I went so far, so far that my liver could not stay with me. Today we live in separate places.

Now, the memories of my transformation have come to my mind. I stopped walking for a few months, as soon as my body took control of my life. It was about where he wanted to go and when. So capricious, what a strong personality! If he did not like the idea, he turned off like a toy with a worn-out pile. Is he vindictive? Yeah! How can be so hateful? Last week, he allowed me to move my right leg and left arm for the last time.

I keep looking at the lining, aware of two lizards that feed on a beetle. Leaning on the open window, the neighbor’s demented cat, with its ears staring at the full moon, licks his own paws and watches them. I remember the Devil Scarab, so valuable and so useless, just as life is for so many people. I feel tired, oblivious to my body. My eyes close and I recognize that I am no longer human, only prey to who I was predator. “May your body not be the first grave of your skeleton”, wrote Jean Giraudoux in Notes et Maximes, Le Sport, 1928.

Written by David Arioch

December 12th, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Visit the dead

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How could it be gloomy if there are plants growing around the graves?


I didn’t consider a graveyard as a dark place. Quite the opposite (Photo: Copy)

In my childhood, I liked to go to the cemetery. I didn’t go there very often, but the experience quite pleased me, because it gave me the impression that I was entering another world, where the living meets the dead. I didn’t consider a graveyard as a dark place. Quite the opposite. How could it be gloomy if there are plants growing around the graves? If dogs and cats frequent the place?

It wasn’t hard to understand why. The calm, the preeminent silence on most days, allowed the most attentive beings hear the sounds of the earth, besides harmony and dissonance of the species in their insightful relationships with nature. I still remember a couple of chalk-browed mockingbirds singing a short distance from the grave of my great-grandmother, a few steps from the necropolis entrance.

The soft chirping accompanied the solemn breeze that came as a breath. It protruded from the top of a tree, where cotton, grass and dry twigs were a nest-shaped basket. “Hmm … one will be born”, I thought. Suddenly, a thrush leaned next to the white wall, renovated with lime, and started scratching the ground in search of food. He watched me without worry and continued scratching the soil, perhaps confident in his shrewdness, as he was at home, where the stranger was me.

I turned away and walked to the left to read the inscriptions and epitaphs written extemporaneously in concrete or engraved on bronze plates. “Why are the graves so different? They couldn’t be equals?”, I asked my parents. They explained that the greatest normally belong to the rich. Some people believe that the bigger the grave, the higher the level of importance of the deceased. Based on this pharaonic belief, it is assumed that even strangers will be attracted by the mausoleums. The impressiveness always helped them stand out among the rest, as a flourish that naively romanticize the inevitable fate of all beings.

In my reflections, tombs, however different they were, reminded me of product packaging or gift packages. I mean, no matter how sumptuous the grave was, the truth is that they are regarded with the same matter. Some mausoleums I saw as strongholds created to protect or ensure the fragile human transience. Doors, windows and large rings made me suspect that perhaps the family believed in the possibility of a return of the deceased loved one. “Do they think that one day the dead will get up and walk out the door?”, I asked.

I also learned that sometimes a homeric tomb may reveal a material form of affection, or delayed compensation to the dead for some misunderstanding or meager participation in your life. I heard stories of people moved by flagellant remorse spent small fortunes in the construction of tombs. Some works cost more expensive than a house. The materials were brought from other parts of Brazil and other countries, thus ensuring the catacomb a sui generis privilege.

“Did you know that Orlando’s family hired a mannerist artist to create the project of the grave?” I heard this one morning. Perhaps there was an intrinsic relationship with the memorial or human absurdity before the finitude, an exercise in symbolic perpetuation. “Let’s create something so that he is never forgotten. For centuries after his death he is still remembered. Even though none of us live long, others, even strangers, will be here to see him”, someone thinks, refusing to believe that the death of our always changes something within us, but the world will continue following his natural course, confirming our smallness, regardless of our pain.

Looking around, and seeing both assortment of colors, types, sizes and decorations, I remembered a lesson from teacher Babeto. He showed us photos of a graveyard in France, where death reaffirms the indistinctness of humans. On the green lawn was just white crosses in concrete. Everything seemed so uniform, harmonious, fair and consistent. After all, there is nothing to be proved when life fades, as we are what we do in life.

Perhaps some are too passionate to accept that their loved ones were also overcome by passing, like so many others. So, I don’t doubt that for some, the grave is now seen as an address, where the end is to be postponed until the time that the last brick or marble was wrapping the coffin.

Anyway, I never felt as intrigued by mausoleums, like how I felt for old graves, helpless, relegated to ostracism – which rarely receive visits from family and friends of the deceased. Curious and inquisitive, I found vaults abandoned for decades, built by families that no longer exist, with stories and surnames lost in time – obsolete and extinct as rare specimens. Some graves have vanished because they were not perpetual, mostly of peasants or humble people.

In the 1990s, for example, I visited the grave of two little girls that were ten years old, childhood friends of my mother. On a rainy day in the 1960s, they were struck by lightning while they washed dishes in the back of the house. They died in agony on a dirt floor that darkened the light hair that covered their faces.

The tragedy touched many ranchers who walked on foot for long distances to pray for the children, helpless, in the most allegorical of weaknesses, surrounded by coffee plantations that soon would cease to bloom and bear fruit. Mistress Mary visited her daughter and niece until the day that no perpetual tomb was destroyed to make way for another deceased child, who did not run the risk of having his remains relocated because they paid enough for that privilege. I received that news three years ago, after searching the vault in vain.

I have memories of how small the two tombs were. No bronze plates, photos, names or any information. Over time, and without fanfare, they continued to exist for a few to the full and figured fading material. “They were good girls. But the cycle of them in this place is over. Maybe it was better that way. The mother suffered too much”, said an old lady with a plaintive smile.

I walked to another grave, watching this old lady who introduced herself as Tania. Her glittering and vernal eyes contrasted with her skin and slender face pied by the action of the time. She had a sweet voice, from who accepts what life offers, and no matter how small the gift, she still grateful. Tania visited her husband once a month since 1957, which is when he died as a result of malaria.

He worked building roads in my town, until one day he became ill and could not get up anymore. He did not receive the last two months of work. “I went to the boss’s house to get the unpaid wages. Hence the man shouted: ‘I have nothing for you, woman! My business was with your husband. Get out of here!’ I was not angry because of it. I just left”, she told me. Years later, Tania learned that the man was shot to death because he sold a farm with two houses, and he tried to bring down one of those to resell the wood.

After her husband’s death, Tania never had another relationship with men. She still wears on her finger the wedding ring purchased in 1951. When I asked if she did not feel very alone, Tania argued that loneliness does not live in a heart in communion with the life. Also, I questioned why she kept visiting her husband after so long.

While she cleaned the grave with a piece of flannel, one of the simple ones of the graveyard, dedusting as if making caresses, she watched me with a candid smile and replied: “The human being who is not faithful to his promises can not be true to yourself. So how I do every month, I am here fulfilling my promise, not out of obligation, but because it invigorates my heart. Life is everywhere, in the earth entrails and in the uncertainties of the sky, and the cemetery is no different. I also see here the east, as well as the west. “

Written by David Arioch

October 11th, 2016 at 12:01 am

The Clement guard

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I saw his dark mustache, thick and long like the curtains of the sky

Crossing where Clement saved Beto (Photo: David Arioch)

Crossing where Clement saved Beto (Photo: David Arioch)

When I was six year old, every day there was a guard waiting for us down the street to help us cross. Hundreds of children went through there every day. Clement smiled and reached out with such devotion that even the sunlight seemed more intense, illuminating his forehead and highlighting his snowy teeth.

He took the whistle to his mouth and emitted a short, but effective oxytone sound. It was enough for everyone to stay alert. So Clement held my hand firmly and led me to the school sidewalk, protecting me from motorcycles, cars, vans and trucks. Carefully, he always kept his body closest to the vehicles while my body was hidden by him.

The synchrony between the whistle and the instantaneous stop was surreal, as if choreographed. Few drivers dared to even touch a centimeter of the tire on the crosswalk. If anyone did, Clement took a pocket tape measure, crouched on the asphalt per second, walked to the driver and greeted him with a warm handshake.

“How are you? All right? It’s hot today, huh? I suppose you’re in a hurry, of course, who isn’t nowadays, right, my friend? So I understand why you have the two front tires on the track. It happens. The hurrying makes you commit these little slips. Take a look here, you just invaded 25cm. I believe that you, like me, know it will not guarantee that you get anywhere faster. Of course, now we don’t have many children on the street, but there are times when this small space has a lack you can’t imagine. Can I count on your cooperation? “, he said in early afternoon, returning the driver’s compliance with a nod and a frugal smile.

During the crossing with Clement, I raised my head, looking at the sky with his nose, and watched him. Small, I believed he could touch that wild blue yonder with the top of his cap. I saw his dark mustache, thick and long like the curtains of the sky. The clouds moved near his head, reaffirming the idea that at least during the crossing he was the supreme authority, and beyond him there was no one.

After 5.30 pm, when the school bell was triggered, warning that the classes were ending, we did the same path. Hours passed, and Clement kept smiling and extending his hands. He never showed fatigue, irritation or boredom. He was so polite, that sometimes drivers parked their vehicles and walked up to congratulate him for the good work.

That made him one of the most remarkable characters of my childhood, someone who could serve as an inspiration for me to become a worthy human being. It was not uncommon to see people giving gifts to him. Committed to his work ethic, he always thanked with brightened eyes and refused, unless gifts made by hand, a simple food or a homemade sweet.

At that time, I had never heard of racism until I asked my classmate Bob why he and other boys never held Clement’s hand. I remember one day that I saw him taking the guard’s hand over his shoulder. “Why? Because he’s black! My father said that black guards should not exist because these people are not reliable; because the only white part of their body is their palm. Furthermore, they have a bad smell and wiry hair”, he replied spontaneously.

Startled, I was silent. During recess, without knowing what it meant, I sat in a corner of the yard and thought about Bob’s words. I realized that Clement really was a black man, the first I have seen since I was born, but so what? A few days later, Bob gave me an ultimatum, saying that I could not walk anymore with him and three other classmates if I kept holding Clement’s hand. I ignored his advice, and over the next month I was excluded from the games on the playground. When it was time to play indoor football, Bob convinced all the other kids to leave me out.

A month later, I had not seen Clement at the crossing, wich was his workplace. He never returned. In his place, they put a blond and clear-eyed boy, who devoted his attention to teenage girls who circulated the vicinity. Bob’s father had intervened, and Clement was transferred  to another city. They invented an excuse for lack of guards and convinced him to leave.

Later, on saturday, Bob was walking and sucking a popsicle when he was surprised by a runaway car that invaded the sidewalk at the crossing of Pernambuco Avenue and Souza Naves Street. Stunned, he threw the stick, closed his eyes and cringed his body. Bob didn’t see Clement coming out of the market, throwing his bags and jumping with him on the asphalt.

The guard had superficial wounds throughout his body. Seeing Bob unharmed, he smiled, regardless of the torn clothes. Embarrassed and with haggard eyes, the kid remainded in the fetal position. He discovered that the rejected hand is the one that more should have been stroked.

Written by David Arioch

October 2nd, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Dio, the discovery of the little hawk      

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I was surprised to see in the yard a small hawk perched on the branch of a brazilian grape tree


The little one loved living at home, going through every space he pleased or instigated his curiosity

I was eight or nine years old. I got home and I was surprised to see in the yard a small hawk perched on the branch of a brazilian grape tree. He was so young and my mother found him injured near a vacant lot. She took care of him and soon he recovered, but he didn’t want to leave.

The little one loved living at home, going through every space he pleased or instigated his curiosity. His plumbeous feathers contrasted with the clear sky on hot days. I said he was the lord of the rain because his plumes were gray as the misty sky. Whenever someone asked me why Diodon had orange feathers next to the right foot, I repeated the same story I made up:

“In a day of little clarity, he flew so high that the sun got angry and suddenly appeared just burning a small portion of his plumes. The shock was so big that even his blue eyes changed color – an endless memory of his stubbornness.”

Dio was quiet and silent, but he didn’t like to interact with other animals. He only watched them from a distance, as if from the branch where he rested, he observed the vassals of his kingdom. He had an inquiring look and at the same time simple and pure. He couldn’t hunt, so the responsibility fell on us to feed him with ground meat plus calcium carbonate powder.

The first time he went up on my finger, I felt a tickle. When I started to laugh, Dio opened his beak and screeched. I had the impression that he wanted to answer my laughter in his own way. As Diodon grew, my fingers became insufficient to safeguard him, and he decided to nest in my arm and shoulder, especially around the neck, where he learned to poke me subtly with his claws. Over my shoulder, Dio always called the attention of onlookers in the center of the town.

From time to time, he opened his wings like a fan, reaffirming its grandiosity. His popped eyes gave me the impression that his painstaking vision contemplated all around him, like his hearing. Nothing went unnoticed, not even a solitary leaf swept by the breeze into a manhole.

Occasionally, he cowered in the presence of strangers, hiding part of his body behind me. I was tickled and laughed when his grizzly beak poked my head. Then he moved his feet to the left, to touch my deltoid, and watched me carefully, since ignoring the visits that he regarded as intrusion. Despite the estrangement that lasted months, he no longer saw the poodles Happy and Chemmy as threats. By analyzing them, his behavior has changed considerably. I remember when I caught the fond Chemmy licking Diodon’s feathers. Silently, the little hawk was aiming the nozzle towards the indigo sky in contemplation.

At late afternoon, after the restless Happy came to lick his beak, Dio wasn’t positioned to peck the dog’s nose as usual. The truth is that he didn’t care. The little hawk may not have noticed what happened and continued admiring the celestial vastness, abstracted from the earth and released to the heavens where he floated under soft dreams as his feathers.

Happy thought that Diodon’s passivity was strange, and examined with exultant and ensnared expression. The poodles retreated when the little hawk flapped his wings and walked toward the brazilian grape tree in the backyard. Climbing from branch to branch, he reached the top and hesitated for nearly a minute before he jumped with open wings.

During the flight, Dio squealed with excitement that caught the attention of neighbors and strangers who passed through Arthur Bernard Street. He was happy and even the most inattentive person realized it. It was as if the cloudless sky gained a new owner, a young animal which discovered that the breath of life also exists in the concession.

Every day in the afternoon he flew at the same time. I was finding it curious and I started to time the duration of his flights. One, two, three, four hours. Each week that passed I noticed that Diodon spent less time at home. That’s when I realized that his home was no longer a place, but a space where his wings bobbed with the purity of a winged horse.

The last time I met him at home, he gently pecked my head. His feathers were more vibrant as well as their glittering eyes of citrine that conveyed me cunning and conviction. Diodon was no longer the small hawk who came home wounded, malnourished and with few feathers. Although he didn’t like hugs, he allowed me to involve him quickly between my arms, without even pointing his long, sharp claws. I let him, and he played the same way he winched the first time that he came up on my finger. Within minutes, Dio left and never returned.We didn’t try to seek him because there is nothing to find when the departure is motivated by the untimely desire to fly.

Written by David Arioch

September 25th, 2016 at 3:21 pm

The love and the pomegranate

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


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