It was a common day, the day I died. Life kept going, day in day out. I continued to live in spite of being dead. As I recall, the beginning of that premature death occurred back in another place, a lovely and royal place called Petrópolis, the old-time summer residence of the Portuguese imperial family when they lived in Brasil running away from Napoleon in Europe. Petrópolis is close from Rio de Janeiro, in a mountainous area, the so-called região serrana.
We were small, my two younger brothers and my baby sister. Mom took us for a day in the park, a beautiful park, with paddle boats, ducks and swans, and a pleasant and bucolic european-style landscape. We had a picnic. I remember mom introduced us to a friend, a young handsome man who took her and us for a boat ride in the small lake of the park. He sat with us at the picnic and treated us friendly. I think his name was Antônio.
Freeze image. Forward memory…….
One or two years later we were living in Belo Horizonte, capital city of Minas Gerais State in Brasil, the place we were originally from. My dad decided to come back. He was working now as a manager in a big construction company; those that build damns, airports, high ways, and the like.
The bell ringed at the door of our apartment. Mom looked at the peephole and her face became pale. She sent my brothers to the bedroom and asked me to stay. She opened the door and closed it behind her. I could listen her voice and the voice of a man in a sort of argument going on outside, behind the door. She came back and I could see a bit of the man’s face while she closed the door. He seemed familiar.
It was Antônio. My mom’s friend from Petrópolis. He wanted her to go back with him to Petrópolis. He threatened her. He opened the door and mom tried to force him out. I threw something on him. I think it was a glass of milk. He let the door go saying that she would regret it and he would shot my father when he was back from work. There was some panic and my brothers, sensing it, came out of the room asking what was going on. I helped mom sending them back by saying it wasn’t important; they were small enough to believe it. She sent them back and her hands were cold when she grabbed my two arms and asked me to go talk to Antônio. She wanted me to convince him to go away.
I did go to talk to him. He showed me the gun and bullets. He said things mom did to his body, things my father wouldn’t like to know. He would tell him before shooting him. I begged him to leave, not to kill my father or my mother; to leave us alone because she didn’t want be friends with him anymore. He tried to go back to the apartment but I barred his way. He was kind enough to give up after all.
He left, I don’t recall much more. Mom, after that, took me to the bathroom, sat at the border of the bathtub, held my hands and asked me to promise her I would never tell what happened to anybody. And so I did. I never told it to anybody. We never talked about it again. She kept living with my father until they died, twenty days in between each other’s deaths. He, from a heart attack; and she in a car accident. They lived unhappy until death separated them many, many years later.
She told me other things about the end of her life and happiness. She would do whatever sacrifice she had to do to stay with us and live with father, in spite the fact she wasn’t happy with him. She asked me to help her. And I did.