… new year’s take two …

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
inToxicated.
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
their concern.

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?

NYEve Alcir sick

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….

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… new year’s eve …

NYEve beach scene 1

It’s New Year’s Eve, 2005, the day long looked forward to…
we awake late, and spend the day cooking, talking, having
sex, and laughing.  He is drinking beer all day, and by beer
i mean in large liter bottles pulled from the freezer, in a
consistency much like what we call Slushies back home.
Near frozen, super thick, and just the thing in the hot humidity
of Rio’s summer months.
He is jolly, but more Trying to be jolly than jolly coming
from the heart.  He seems disjointed, still not truly there,
eyes far away.

He has been planning something for the big Eve, and is
excited to share with me that he’s bought two tickets on the
bus to Copacabana, for the huge celebration on the beach.
Sounds great to me!  I dress festively, in long flowered dress,
mostly white as that is the tradition, and he in flower covered
Hawaiian shirt, and we walk to the bus stop and catch the special
ride, alongside a crowd of very jolly Brasilians.

NYEve bus 1

After a long walk, we wander the beach as darkness approaches,
and we find ourselves shoulder to shoulder with so many people,
more than I’ve ever seen together in one place.  I heard later it
was about Two Million covering the miles of beach and walkways.
The joyous mood is like perfume in the air, and we all catch it
without effort.
The famous walkway is lit up, just like in those old pictures, and
all the buildings shimmer and shine with proud anticipation.
Off shore are Boats…. huge ships to small boats, all lit with
every sort of lighting device, so the ocean is just a continuation
of the shore, wall to wall undulating excitement.
Two Million Brasilians!!

NYEve beach people
I mean, Brasilians are crazy joyous wildness on normal days,
and this is amped up beyond measure.   My eyes are wide like
a child on Christmas, times ten.   I can’t stop smiling.
I’m Here…. at last I am Here.

He wants a drink.  We find an outdoor bar, out under the stars,
and start on beer.   Since the only way to sit is to pay for a place
at one bar or another, we decide to just stay, and I pay the $100
it takes for two.  He has very little money.

NYEve fireworks 2
We sit at a little table out of doors, under the stars.
Each time he leaves to refresh the glasses, he’s gone for a few
minutes, and I am just sitting there alone, taking it all in,
still a little in shock, a little spinny, very spaced out, not quite
all here, but doing my best to get my feet on the ground.
I feel a bit bewildered, but always hopeful.
It was sometime later I realize that with each beer he brings
back, he has taken a shot at the bar, but with him it was hard
to tell.
I just keep waiting for Him to be there, for he seems less and
less so, his energies scattered, and not really grounded at all.
He still seems bewildered in his heart.

NYEve fireworks 5

We have brought a bottle of Champagne, and he sends it back
with the waiter to chill on ice.  We are smiling now, and it seems
like maybe with the fireworks, there will come a sort of
culmination, a crashing into eachother, finally falling into arms
and looking into eyes, and maybe he’ll be like he was when last
I’d been there.

But that never happens.  By the time the show is in motion, he
is gone more and more, now at the bar, now talking to some
woman, now here, now gone.  I am now disoriented.
Midnight!  where is my love to kiss, to smile at, to hold?
Glancing around I see him talking to some woman, gesturing
and laughing, telling her some story no doubt…
I’m so confused….
At last the champagne is opened and he shares it with her glass,
and then comes back to me and we toast the new year… finally.
Someone takes our picture, and our faces indeed register the
strangeness we were enveloped in.

NYEve A&C
The Fireworks show is Glorious, massive fire flowers lighting
the sky and making the crowd glow, mostly dressed in white.

NYEve beach blurry

Finally the show is over, and we begin walking in the direction
of homeward bound buses.  The crowd is a solid mass as we
slide together, like lava slowly down the mountainside, and
I realize he is stumbling.  His eyes are glazed and far away, and
he is stumbling, nearly falling, catching himself, bumping into
people, mumbling to himself, and I try to steady him.

Nothing is working.  I am trying to steady a 6 foot, 200 pound man
who is so pickled, he has no bodily functions under his control.
Yet he is sure he’s just fine and doesn’t need help.

I am talking to him how, yelling over the din of the crowd…
“Alcir!  Alcir!….here…..this way….no!, no, come on, watch out!”
and it goes on…
I start getting scared, for he is now nearly falling, catching himself,
falling down, getting back up, and fighting me the whole way.
and I cannot control him, and he keeps stumbling and falling
into people, and I worry someone’s going to punch him.
Then he falls down again, and it’s all I can do to get him to his feet.

Doing my best not to become hysterical…. in a crowd who
could easily crush us, in a sea of people who speak Portuguese,
moving down a street where I am lost to direction or destination,
I find myself with absolutely No idea where we are going or
where we Should go, and he is unable to converse in any
sensible way.

Fear is moving up my spine, filling my brain cavity, and comes
close to overwhelming me…  I am holding back panic.

Then suddenly there are two young men by our side, and they
are picking him up and carrying him off to the side of the street,
then to the right, and into the next alleyway, out of the crowd,
out of the light rain now falling, and they stand him up against
the wall of a building where he continues to fight them, fight me,
mumble to himself, and refuses to sit down no matter what.

And there we are.  A small crowd has gathered in this sheltered
space, a crowd that is mellow and mixing, and I lean against the
wall next to him, and wonder just What I am doing here at all.

___________________________

… from paolo coelho …

Love Is...Paolo Coelho

In order to hear Love’s words, you must allow Love to
approach.  However, when it does draw near, we fear
what it might say to us, because Love is free and is not
ruled by our will or by what we do.
All lovers know this, but refuse to accept it. They think
they can seduce Love through submission, power,
beauty, wealth, tears and smiles.
True Love, however, is the love that seduces and will
never allow itself to be seduced.
Love transforms, love heals.
We are used to thinking that what we give is the same
as what we receive, but people who love, expecting to
be loved in return, are wasting their time.
Love is an act of faith, not an exchange.
Contradictions are what make love grow.
Conflicts are what allow love to remain by our side.
Life is too short for us to keep important words, for
example, ‘I love you’, locked in our hearts.
MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Shared on Paolo Coelho’s Blog

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