The rain is soft, too soft to hear yet, but I am glad
we are out of it, under a high roof and in a well lit alley.
There are others there, here and there, lovers, laughing
friends, young guys wandering and joking.
Alcir stands, his back leaning on the wall, and he fights me.
“Sit down Alcir, Sit Down!” I plead, but he’s still fighting me,
unable to stand alone, unable to make sense of any of this,
yet still insisting he is fine and knows what he’s doing.
At last he gives up, sits down much to my relief, and
I sit down beside him. I am exhausted, bewildered and
confused. Which way is the bus, and which bus do we take?
I haven’t the slightest clue…
He does not, cannot answer me. He lays his head on my lap
and proceeds to pass out. And I don’t mean fall asleep or
doze off, I mean Pass Out Cold. He is dead to the world, and
after a while I am afraid. He won’t respond to me at all, and I
wonder if he might die, he’s so out of his body, so completely
At last I manage to extract myself from his bulk, and do
my best to lie him out flat, and crouch down beside him,
feeling out of control, out of my element, my head spinning
with confusion. Now and then someone comes by and
in their own way asks if I am ok, if there is something they
can do. The warmth and sweetness of those Brasilians is
overwhelming, as their tender inquiries make clear
A fellow who actually speaks some English tells me he lives
just a few doors away, and if I need anything, I should come
by, cause he’ll be up all night. I smile, and some relief returns.
But what am I going to do with Alcir?
I shake him….I yell at him….I slap his face….. I jiggle his body,
running my hands up and down his arms. Someone gives me
some water to drink, and I splash his face…
Nothing…. no response no matter what I do. I have never been
around anyone this passed out… what should I do?
After a long while he starts to vomit, and I help him up to sitting,
so that he accomplishes his purpose. The sad pile sits beside
him now, the story told to anyone willing to listen, and there
I am, keeping company with a dead person and a pile of vomit.
I decide to take a picture, so that I can show him what a fool
he is, what he’s put me thru. I sit a little away from him now,
wishing I could put miles between us… and the hours pass.
It’s been perhaps two of them by now, and I have to pee.
I wait. It gets worse. I decide I must visit that fellow a few
doors down, I have no choice at this point, and he did really
seem young, sweet and sincere.
I remove his wallet, sunglasses and watch, and place them in
my purse. I turn his head to the side, in case he vomits while
I’m gone, and I wander down to the designated door, behind
which I find simple surroundings, smiling people, and a clean
toilet. They are drinking and laughing, lost to the delight of the
night, and they do their best to cheer and reassure me, and I leave.
I am afraid to leave Alcir for any length of time alone.
Alcir is in the same position when I return, and I take my post
beside the almost dead and wounded warrior. I am now his
Protector. The 5’2 Protector of this large and solid man, this
world class kick ass trained killer warrior, who was going to
protect Me, and now humbled by drink and fear….
and of What I wonder.
Of himself, I suspect. Of love, of feeling, of failure.
Another hour passes, maybe more. The people still wander
to and fro, smile at me, come over to ask me one something or
another that I can’t understand, but I never feel threatened.
Not once, or in the slightest, which truly speaks to the
sweet humanity of Brasil.
I sit holding my head, too tired by now to feel fear or even
to fall asleep. I am in some sort of dazed reality that just seems
to go on and on. It is all Completely Surreal….
And then at last the time comes, perhaps 4 am, perhaps 5, when
he stirs and opens his eyes. He quickly sits up, gathering his
senses, and I recount the last few hours, showing him his proud
little pile of throw up.
He’s awake now, and we rise and begin the walk to whatever bus
that might be running at this hour. Wordlessly we walk, board the
bus, and sit… dazed, distant, and finally homeward bound.
I am seething inside….