David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

Archive for the ‘Memories’ tag

Children of the White Gold Cinema

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I saw the tears streaming down his face, wetting his plaid shirt buttoned up at the point of his neck

The White Gold Cinema, one of the great entertainment points of the population of Paranavaí (Archive: Osvaldo Del Grossi)

I am not part of a generation that has the strongest and clearest memories of the White Gold Cinema, one of the great entertainment points of the population of Paranavaí, in the Northwest of Paraná, until 1993. When the cinema was closed, I was still a child. Despite this, I went to the Gold Cinema for a few years of my childhood, and I have fond memories of that time.

My first time at the movies was a session of “The Bumbling Heroes – An Adventure in the Jungle”, on a weekend in 1988. By then, the biggest screen I had seen was the 21-inch TV, covered by a box of varnished wood, which was in the living room. Even so, I was happy watching cartoons on it.

As soon as my brother, my mother and I arrived in front of the White Gold Cinema, in Manoel Ribas Street, in the downtown, I paid attention to the people lined around the box office. Tiny, I watched everything in the proportionality of my stature. I saw more shoes, legs and belts than faces. Except, of course, when people were as little as I was.

Before we got inside the cinema, I walked slowly and backwards along the sidewalk, trying to observe the height of the White Gold’s building, but it was impossible for me. So, I thought that was the biggest movie theater in the world. Who knows, maybe it crossed the skies and had direct contact with the paradise they talked about in school.

The gentle popcorn seller smiled at me, noticing through my large, cylindrical black eyes that it was my movie debut. “Is it your fist time?” You’ll like it and you’ll want to come back many times”, he said, straightening a small amount of sweet pop corn, preventing it from mixing with the salty one.

Warm and smelling, the popcorn popped into the cart. For a moment, I believed, in my boyish illusion, that maybe the popcorn had a life, and wants to go to the movies to watch “The Bumbling Heroes”. By my side, prevailed a sweet aroma that pacified the most bewildering children – yes, it was an effective white-hot soothing odor.

It reminded me of the airy red tabebuia tree, that I saw every day near my house, when I pointed with my finger and shouted: “Look that sweet popcorn tree!” On the other side of the popcorn cart, the smell of popcorn changed, as well as the public. The adults, especially the men, approached and asked: “Give me the salty one, please!”

Skilled, the popcorn seller knew the exact amount of popcorn to fill every bag. I watched his grooved hands glittering in front of the small yellow lamp that glowed and gilded his wrinkled face. It was that way, whenever he leaned in or steeled himself. That was his spectacle, and at the entrance of the White Gold Cinema, nobody was more important than the popcorn seller.

On that day, before we went to the cinema, five shoeshine boys, aged between 6 and 14, approached. They leaned against a wall next to the White Gold Cinema and, as the ragamuffins boys from Buñuel’s “The Young and the Damned”, started smoking, watching families getting out of cars and crossing the sidewalk.

“If I had a father or a mother I would not be in this life, brother! Being poor and alone is not easy. No, sir! Look how much luxury those kids have”, said one of the four boys to his friends. Without a word, they just shook their heads in agreement, crushing little butts with their little feet.

Dirty, with grimy nails and the nauseating smell of cheap cigarettes, a shoeshine boy no more than 12 years old lead a group of kids. As someone hesitant about entering or leaving, he folded his arms and raised his face as one of the entrance lights highlighted his dubious expression of satisfaction

“Guys, listen up! Quickly! This movie ‘Bumbling Heroes’ is very good. There’s only one bad thing. Mussum and Zechariah die at the end. Thanks! Bye! “He shouted and ran laughing, while his dark and curly hair was fluttering. At that moment, he became an antagonist worthy of the villain Scar.

The boy dragged his shabby slippers and, with his companions, went down to Pará Street. Some children did not care about the revelation, but others were so angry that they wanted their parents to call the police or do something about it. For good, no one pursued them.

Inside the Gold White, I was stunned by the out of sight seats. “There are one thousand five hundred seats here. Look up there, it’s like an opera”, my mother told us, watching our reactions. Unhurried, we spun around the mastodontic room, trying to see all the details.

Luckily, there were vacant seats in the front row. Then, we walked there, crossing hallways and listening to the sounds of spectators eating popcorn, talking, making fun of someone and hugging each other. Near us, the usher accompanied everything with its indefectible aura of firefly. He felt like the leader of a coliseum where nothing would happen without his permission, especially when the lights went out.

As soon as I sat down, I observed a boy in mended clothes sitting next to me, accompanied by his mother. His name was Juscelino, and he was a year or two older than me. It was also his first time at the movies. I noticed his anxiety because his small feet kept swinging, as did mine.

His trembling hands sweated so much that every time he wiped them on the sides of his plaid pants. Juscelino was talking to me, keeping his face toward the disproportionate projection screen. I thought he was excited because of the movie, until I noticed something different in his eyes, a crystal clarity like I’ve never seen before. Naturally, the mother revealed that her son was born blind.

Juscelino could not see anything. Still, his excitement at White Gold Cinema surpassed even mine. The sounds and smells that came to him were like immaterial gifts, memorials. With a rare auditory and olfactory acuity, Juscelino could even see what people were doing or eating in the furthest seats- and he liked to discuss everything with me.

Son of peasants from Alto Paraná, he arrived in Paranavaí by bus in the morning, and stayed waiting for hours for the ticket office to open. His father could not participate in the big event, because the savings just barely covered the expenses of his wife and child. “It’s going to start, mom!” Said the little boy seconds before the projector started showing the movie, as if he had a gift for omens.

From beginning to end, Juscelino was completely silent, trying to absorb as much sound information as possible. Occasionally, he moved about the chair without making a sound, worried about bothering people. Juscelino, my brother and I were united by an experience that would never be repeated. Our greatest discoveries were visual, and those of Juscelino were auditory. Perhaps even richer than ours, as he put himself in the position of creator by putting forth to the creativity of everything he heard.

Still in the dark, I saw the tears streaming down his face, wetting his plaid shirt buttoned up at the point of his neck. At the end, with the return of the lights, I asked him what it was like to watch a movie at the cinema without being able to see. My mother scolded me, but Juscelino’s mother did not mind the question.

“I can not explain it right, but I see, yes, I just do not see with my eyes. I see everything I carry inside me”, he justified before taking hold of his mother’s hand and walking in short steps toward the exit. The artificial lighting contrasted and harmonized with the compliant light of the newly arrived portentous moon.

On the corner, at the intersection between Pará and Manoel Ribas Street, the five shoeshine boys, children living as adults, drummed their boxes. They were seated on the curb, immersed in false smiles and sullen stares, trying to exist for a world that scarcely recognized their true intentions.

Returning home on foot, we crossed the street. As we passed them, the same boy, who caused the commotion at the entrance to the cinema, pulled me by the arm and, with an implied look, asked “Hey, my friend. Can you tell us the story of the movie you saw there at the cinema?”


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Written by David Arioch

March 30th, 2017 at 1:28 am

The ephemeral poetry of the Ephemera

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One day, when I was a child, I asked my mother what ephemeral means. She did not answer. Two days later, we went to a stream and in the middle of the grass was a dragonfly-like insect. He moved lightly, and he had the same edacity as the water hitting rocks. His body was yellow, brown, and black, but as he swung his wings, he looked like a gleam of gold.

As it was the weekend, my mother suggested that we spend all the day in that place, watching the routine of that singular insect. Late in the afternoon, after a nap, I woke up and saw him flying toward a small tree. There, he nestled and rested. My mother and I approached a little, and saw that the specimen did not move, it seemed fragile. I thought he was dead.

My mother warned me to be calm. An hour later, the insect deposited a large amount of eggs on one of the most hidden branches, and no longer moved. The flesh simply went away. So I asked what happened. “Why did he die like this, and right now when we came here?” My mother smiled and explained that the insect was actually a female that became an adult in the morning:

Her adult life began shortly before our arrival and ended now. She exists only for others to exist. She barely feeds because time is short, and her children need to be born. That is why her name is Ephemera, and that is what ephemeral means, everything that has a short duration. A word that should always be used in reference to the gifts of communion that we do not have the privilege of enjoying because it is time to go away.

Written by David Arioch

February 7th, 2017 at 11:06 am

The tassels and the beanstalk

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Gave me the impression that they wanted to break through the roof and hit the skies


I stopped bothering them until the evening I met the tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”, by the english writer Benjamin Tabart (Art: Lindsey Bell)

One day, when I was six years old, me and my brother Douglas were at home, in the living room, flanked by colossal ornamental tassels of my mother. They were stained and so beautiful that we were around them, watching and touching: “It looks like hair corn, but much more colorful!”, I said.

The way they struggled to touch the ceiling, when the breeze invaded the living room, gave me the impression that they wanted to break through the roof and hit the skies. Their slender profiled shapes invited our tiny hands to tickle each other with their fringes. In a short time, and redder than one of the tassels, we rolled on the floor laughing, scratching our heads, faces and arms. The nudges on my ears intensified the guffaws.

The Shambles were so big that the parquet floor, freshly polished by my mother, vibrated and earned fingerprints and marks of elbows and foot soles. The truth is that the tassels served us up to play hide and seek. They suffered in our presence, and sometimes I suspected that they fluttered more by fear than by fortuitous incidence of light air.

“Here come these crazy little boys,” perhaps they thought, twitching timidly. It looked like they cowered with our arrival, as a girl committed to not be noticed. Often, when I came home from school, I threw my backpack on the bed and went to the living room. I ran around the tassels, imitating an indian warrior apprentice. Occasionally, I stuck my head between them, observing the absence of lamp’s light. I closed my eyes and I felt a chimeric and auspicious perfume.

I imagined a raging river, where I could flow like its waters, if I threw myself without fear. With the coloring pens, I made some scratches on my face. I howled with a fake voice and continued to bother the tassels until it was time to go to school. One day, I dragged the tassel to change its position and I felt a force pushing me almost to exhaustion. While people say that the tassels had no life, I was surprised to see a little water on the parquet floor, around and below the tassels.

I thought the tassels had been crying for me and I stopped bothering them until the evening I met the tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”, by the english writer Benjamin Tabart. In the evening, at home, I lay down on the bunk with swollen eyes. I digressed by the story told by teacher Agnes, and considered: “If they have no life, why do they look bigger? Strange… very strange… ”

The next day, my doubts increased exponentially when I saw that they were bigger than ever. I told my brother Douglas what happened and he also came to confirm my suspicion. The tassels were pretending they were a beanstalk.

A few minutes before lunch, came the certainty that something needed to be done. There were beans around the tassels. We smiled, we scratch our hands and looked at each other, mechanically moving the head up and down in agreement. “You mean, you can not pretend anymore? Uh-huh …”, I concluded.

The next day, while my mother and my uncle talked on the porch, my brother and I went to the living room. Before that we looked at the surroundings to make sure we would not be surprised by anyone. Douglas took out a lighter and I took another. Face to face, we nodded our heads, and lit the two – touching the tassels that burned like silent giant squib, who could not whistle.

Soon they became an incandescent nothing. The fire went up so fast that I fell back, feeling my body warm and my vision slightly blurred. Tilting my head back, I saw the ceiling glowing. The fire, alive as we had never seen, earned transfigured forms until the moment that Uncle Lu, with the help of my mother, came to prevent it from spreading.

We watched everything in our inertia. The rapid intervention did not prevent the liner from staying black. And so we earned our own mourner sky without moon or stars, just a static darkness that overshadowed the fortuitous glimmer trying to illuminate the tassels remained.

We were grounded for a long time. Nevertheless, we felt like heroes, believing that we avoided the giant people eater to ever come down the beanstalk transformed into tassels. “It would not be long until he comes. We did well”, we agreed. After a beating belt and a week without going out to play, my mother discovered the reason why we put fire in tassels.

On the day of revelation, I learned that before the fire, the vase of the tassels was replaced by another equal, but with shallow background, giving the impression that they were larger. And the water around the tassels was poured in the morning when my mother went to our bedroom with a bucket of water to clean the floor.

“The grain fell to the ground as I ran around the room with an open package of beans to answer the phone”, she told us. We listened in silence, we undersood and we acknowledged our guilt. Back to the bedroom, we smiled at each other. I threw a grain of raw beans at my brother and he did the same. It was not necessary to articulate words. “True innocence is ashamed of nothing”, said Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Written by David Arioch

October 12th, 2016 at 12:46 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

A short christmas story

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The more I walked inside the shop, the more I felt like walking through Nell Trent’s grandfather’s antique shop


I walked to the back of the shop and showed her an old small brown wooden chest (Photo: David Arioch)

It happened in my town when I was 14 years old. As I walked down the street on Christmas Eve, the rain was thin on the busy downtown. I looked at the turbid sky and didn’t understand how the water that touched my body could be warm while it dampened my head in a solemn short cold interval.

I was intrigued and I saw a purpose. The drops that crashed against my scalp and my forehead, dripping between my eyes, sliding down my nose, and making the contours of my mouth before jumping from my chin to my chest, reduced my drowsiness and sent me warning signs, it demanded my attention where I walked.

Until then, I walked like a peculiar kind of incorrigible sleepwalker. I had slept less than five hours and I felt my eyes warm, tired and flushed. My reflection in the shop window revealed a tangled and abstract aspect. I heard acute, mild, severe and oscillating voices on all sides, but I couldn’t identify words. “Are they really speaking English?” This question protruded from my consciousness.

Mixed with rain, sometimes violent, sometimes calm, falling from the branches of trees that shaded the narrow sidewalk, the unexpected smell of wet earth in Mine Street inebriated me. The fairy lights colored the drops that returned to natural transparency when it released from its plastic and glass hosts. The truth is that I noticed just what glittered or amplified my senses.

People talked to me. I didn’t know who they were or what they said. Confused, I limited myself to smile as much as possible, without showing too many teeth. I felt very tired and my bleary eyes didn’t help me deal properly with human interaction that morning.

After a long walk, I scratched my eyes and stopped in front of a mirror of an antique shop. “Hmm, now I’m getting better. Soon I’ll feel 100%”, I concluded. A nice lady invited me to visit the place. The entrance was narrow, but the interior space was big and seemed so inviting and mysterious, that I had a sudden urge to spend hours there.

Fragrances of cloves, vanilla, amber, sandalwood and musk, distributed in various antiquarian points, leading the visitor to feel like part of a divided reality into fragments, with perfumes that enriched objects, the shop owner asked if I would like to see something special. I said no, and she left me at ease. Previously, she told me that she devoted many years of her life buying and collecting objects from 1910 to 1970.

“My father passed away over 30 years ago. He was a collector of things that people considered obsolete or of little value. ‘How something that marked a period and demanded days and even months of effort, may someday be seen as insignificant? There is nothing in the world that deserves such depreciation”, he told this to Martha, the owner of the antique shop before leaving to meet a client who was looking for a music box.

The more I walked inside the shop, the more I felt like walking through Nell Trent’s grandfather’s antique shop, immortalized by Charles Dickens. For a moment, it also reminded me of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Frank Capra. Well, in my case and at that time, happiness could be purchased.  However, the reality was a destroyers desire. I opened my grizzly and battered wallet, counted the notes and coins which bobbed into my pocket, and I quickly made sure that nothing there fit in my budget.

The sadness hit me hard. It made me perspire, moistening my hands and the few notes of low value that I looked crestfallen. The coins have lost their luster, as if they were powerless, destroyed by circumstance. By far, Martha noticed the moment I quickly cringed to put money in my pocket and left the antiquarian.

She interrupted me and asked if I appreciated anything. I said yes. “Ok, then why won’t you take anything?” I hesitated for a few seconds. I felt trapped, like a helpless animal. Seeing in her face a comforting expression of benevolence, I just told her that I didn’t have money to buy anything in her shop.

“Why not? How much do you have?” Reluctantly, my hands were shaking when I took the notes and coins from my pocket. Marta smiled and asked me to show her which object pleased me most.

I walked to the back of the shop and showed her an old small brown wooden chest that cost more than double of my savings. “Who will you give it to? It’s a nice Christmas present! You have good taste!”, commented Martha, making me blush. I explained that it would be for my mother. Then she asked if there was something in my pocket. I took a piece of white paper that carried a little poem of mine called “Faience Child”.

Martha read it carefully, smiled and, to my surprise, declared that “my work” covered the rest of the amount. Before leaving, she asked me to autograph the poem and to help her put it in a golden frame of baroque inspiration . “Now we have a valuable framework,” she emphasized.

We said goodbye and she accompanied me to the shop’s entrance, where I saw her smiling graciously until the time that I disappeared from her sight. Excited, I walked through Vargas Street and I returned home watching the sun clearing the cloudy morning, drying the asphalt and illuminating the scene, vehicles, people and animals which were covered by the same warm and lilting mantle.

The following month, I took my mother to the antiquarian. When we got there, there was nothing, only a rent board. “A glimpse of passing faces caught by the light of a street-lamp or a shop window is often better for my purpose than their full revelation in the daylight”, wrote Charles Dickens in “The Old Curiosity Shop”.

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