Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another fine day to say goodbye

(Exercício que escrevi para um curso que estou fazendo em creative writing na Berkeley online.).

The sun crosses the room and Dorothy remembers that she needs to hang up the clothes outside. Sundays are so quite. She opens the door to the backyard and the breeze that comes in is hot. "Like a pressure cooker, a fall stew in a pressure cooker". Her daughter, Elise, calls to let her know that she is running late and that she will bring Dorothy's favorite cupcakes. Apple and Carrot cupcake with twenty ingredients that only Elise can make, or has the patience to make. Dorothy feels weak, her legs have been cheating on her since last summer and she hates them a little for that. The Book says not to hate. But she does and thinks "it's the age, I am allowed".

The sky is clear, at least. The red clothesline full of clothes looks like an old garland forgotten in the closet. Faded colors and a few holes complete the picture. Dorothy used to hang up her hopes and dreams on the clothesline in the past, when her two children were little. She had a special clothing pin for that purpose: four hand carved 1900's pins that belonged to her mother. They still have that wonderful primitive look, but now rest in her recipe box. Elise does not know, but her mother plans to give her the recipe box tonight. Life is a perpetual state of letting go. Sunday silence sounds good to her and she lays down in the couch. The cardinal outside sees her tired expression and flies away with its song under its wings. "There is no wind to cool a hot day", he thinks.

The light pink box decorated with white paper doilies says "Lost in Reverie". The name of a famous bakery in the city where Dorothy used to buy Christmas cookies. She still has the box that now embraces mementos, souvenirs and a lot of herself. A picture of her wedding takes her back to the past. Sun setting, a piece of cake and the driver as a witness. A beautiful elopement she doesn't get tired of revisiting. "Nothing is the same", she thinks as she hides the photo in her pocket. A kiss. As the year progressed and her legs became weaker she organized her most dear belongings on a coffee table she could easily reach if she needs to.

The telephone rings again, but Dorothy's fatigue keeps her from answering it. She feels sorry because she knows it is Benjamin, her youngest son. So they won't talk again. She thinks. When he left the country to live with his fiancee in South Africa, Dorothy started experiencing phantom pains throughout her body. She still feels them when she enters his bedroom. A depressing feeling of being alone. Benjamin didn't like to sleep alone in his bedroom. For years she had to keep the hall light on. He used to say that it was the candle of goodbye, and she always, always assured him, "yes, the candle of goodnight, Ben". Time goes by and suddenly life is a thick book of fading photos.

The door cracks. It is Elise coming with her tender smell of lavender. She is very noisy and animated and looks like she is going to bloom any time. "I brought your cupcakes, I baked them with nineteen ingredients this time", she says as she closes the door. But by now Dorothy is asleep. Elise kissed her forehead and went to the kitchen to make lemonade. She looked around, through the windows and everything she saw was covered with mixed memories. The house she was born in, had her first Christmas, broke her right arm, planted sunflowers, went trick or treating with her cousins, got caught kissing her neighbor, left for college, and so on. Each memory feels like a island connected by her desire to bring them to life. She finds in the cupboard a seashell and holds it next to her mother's ear. Her smile is soft and spontaneous.

In the backyard, Elise calls Benjamin and cries. "I think this is the last song in the blue tape", she says. When they were little kids they used to play with daddy's blue tape, a painter's tape pretending it was life itself and that everything they could stick to the tape was part of their lives: dreams and hopes, pictures from magazines, tiny toys, pennies, more or less. He cries and hangs up the phone. Sundays are like a Hopper's paint. "Take a deep breath, Elise, and go", says the cardinal. And she does go inside, sets the table and takes a quick shower. The ceiling fun looks like a child learning how to blow air. Her mother wakes from her nap and sees the table ready. Slowly she opens the drawer of the TV stand and picks up the videotape "Driving Miss Daisy".

Mother and daughter sit on the window bench and for a moment they pretend to know what they are doing. Elise rests her head on mom's lap very gently, takes her hands and puts them on her belly. "I'm pregnant". Dorothy, overjoyed, opens the pink box. Inside there is a pair of crochet shoes that belonged to baby Elise. The birds are singing blissfully as both celebrate day to day miracles. "You missed one ingredient, you know that, right?", says Dorothy. Oh, the excitement and mirth of the relationships... And so they sit to watch the movie with the cupcakes in between them. The whole scene is like a prayer. "Mom, if you had a wish, a single wish, what would it be?". "Another fine day to say goodbye".


  1. Minha querida amiga! Cheguei às lágrimas! Tenho minha luz acesa no corredor, penso em que receitas fazer , meu BB vai para a universidade... Lindo, lindo mesmo! Beijos!

  2. Meninas, assim não vale...obrigada pela visita, viu. Fiquei muito feliz. :)

  3. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing! How cool is it to be able to do these courses online? :)

    Sera que um dia vc vai escrever um livro e eu poderei sneak in one little illustration? ;)

  4. Cris, estes cursos dão uma chocalhada na nossa rotina. Obrigada pelo comment. :)

    Um dia eu vou publicar sim e você vai ilustrar bem bonito. De acordo?

  5. Belo texto, muito bem escrito! Me emocionei... Quando vc publicar o seu livro me avise! Bjs

  6. Quem dera, Livi, mas obrigada mesmo assim. :)