"words are poisoned darts of pleasure" FF

quinta-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2008


Something in the pea and ham
soup got her thinking about floaty
dresses and warm afternoons.

(or maybe it was just anxiety
finally sneaking out of her
hermetically sealed chest)

She took off the lid
anyway, and nearly
threw up her own heart.

quinta-feira, 20 de novembro de 2008


Swirling on the pathway like a miniature
tornado the golden leaves mimic
the state of my thoughts.
It’s gonna be hard to
leave, I tell thee.
And I pray for
the wind to
spin you

terça-feira, 18 de novembro de 2008


*alguém arrisca apostar qual versão saiu primeiro?


Me despeço da cidade como quem
se despede de um amor minguante;
com uma ponta de dor e a leveza
de quem acredita em recomeços.

Aqui aonde o sol brilha
mas nao aquece a carne,
a alma busca combustivel
na memoria de dias como este.

É novembro e pisco meus olhos
devagar para capturar na retina
toda a luz que posso suportar.
(Superexposição é imprescindível)

A cada fechar de olhos enterro meus
pés mais fundo na areia da praia que
me aguarda, paciente, do outro lado do

Estou pronta para me apaixonar outra vez.


I bid the city farewell like one
does to a love slowly fading;
with a hint of sorrow and a
longing for new beginnings.

Up here where the sun shines
but doesn’t warm up the flesh
the soul has to look for fuel
in memories of days like this.

It’s sunny in November and
I blink slowly so as to capture
all the light my retina can bear.
(Super exposure is essential)

Every time I close my eyes I sink my feet
deeper into the sand of the beach that
awaits, patiently, on the other side of the

I am ready to fall in love again.

segunda-feira, 25 de agosto de 2008


So, this is it. I’m supposed to know what to do now. This is ridiculous; she must be joking. I hate girls like her...people like her, actually. Always making everything sound so fucking easy, anticipating things. How did she know I wasn’t going to wake up by myself? And how the hell did she remember about the notebook? Stupid airplanes, if this was a bus I could just chuck it out the window. I shouldn’t be here anyway. Holiday...yeah, right. People shouldn’t be allowed to start holidays travelling by plane, it ruins the entire thing. ‘Put your seat on the upright position, Sir’; ‘Turn off your electronic devices for takeoff, Sir’; ‘Fish or pasta?’. Do I look like a give a damn? It will all taste like nothing anyway. And no music during takeoff? But that’s when you’re supposed to be overwhelmed with excitement, with a great summer tune playing loud on your iPod and the picture of a chick like Angelina freaking Jolie sunbathing by your side on a white-sanded beach.

You mentioned you wanted to write down some plans. Never a better time than on the road.
Stay on the sunny side and send a postcard,

Not children screaming around, not granny sleeping and snoring on the seat next to me and all this darkness outside. This is wrong. We need light – and lightness. And I say we because I need you to come with me. Not on this bulky, claustrophobic jet-jail, but on a bike. Arms wrapped tight around my waist, chin resting on my left shoulder and the engine singing through silence. The landscape passing by is absolutely essential for travelling. Things gone and things new; cities dying and cities reborn. Most importantly, things changing. This is why we travel, right: to change. Change scenery, change routine, opinions.
Change your heart.
Anyway, I’ll hope for a cloudless sunrise. The notebook is safe for the time being, Alice, but it might not survive all the boat trips.
As for me, since I am not piloting this shit, I might as well enjoy the free wine. If I crash our bike in my sleep, I’m blaming it on you.

quarta-feira, 23 de julho de 2008

Imaginary roads

Hidden in the backseat of the 49 Hudson, zooming from NY to North Carolina, I listened in awe to what those two men were talking about. I couldn’t make sense of most of it, and in order to do so I would have to stop daydreaming and actually hit the road with the first soul that would take me away from this corner in Leeds and head south – penniless and with no plan whatsoever. It is much easier to sit under the warm sunshine and imagine myself crossing highways in a freezing December night with Neal and Jack. Will I ever experience the same kind of madness? I very much doubt it. The world has grown a little scared, and I with it.


The warm breeze blows my hair on my face and brings me the smell of burnt gas from the scooters that have just driven by. It reminds me of my teenage summers and how back then I feared everything was so damn perfect that it couldn’t possibly get any better. It did. It does. Will it ever be larger than life, worth telling the rest of the world? I don’t know. But I agree with Neal when he tells Jack that ‘Everything is fine, God exists, we know time (…) And not only that but we both understand that I couldn’t have time to explain why I know and you know that God exists’.

Not your God, not anyone’s, but my own. Invented by me. And today it brought me here to this cafe, in the company of this book, to watch the most dazzling sunset I’ve seen in age, reminisce about the past, and dream of the road ahead.

quinta-feira, 17 de julho de 2008


What a load of fucking bullocks. Why did it have to be her? Five bloody women in the house and she is the one that finds me crying like a baby in the backyard with a pint of Guinness in one hand and my life going down the drain with the rain that hasn’t stopped falling all day. ‘D’you need a hug?’ she asks. I don’t need no fucking hug. She can go to hell with her sympathy, her easy smile and those worried eyes. As if she cares. She could shag me, that’d do the trick, I tell you. For the moment being, at least. Ever since she slipped out that she is writing a book about me I feel like a stupid rat lab around her. An experiment. Every time she comes around for a chat I’m sure she’s only doing it because she’s run out of ‘material’. Ill give her some material. But someone should tell the girl that fat diabetics dropouts don’t make the best heroes.

‘Fuck off!’, I say, facing the other side. I’ve decided to test her. How far would she go with this? How much of my life she’d be able to handle? Worst part is that I don’t even have to make things up. Although I could. I’m in control now. If she wants to borrow my life she’ll get only what I decide to give her. And when I do. But still, a part of me just wants to hug her and tell her how fucked up I am. How I’m in such a complete mess and how I’ve been drinking so much for so long to try to avoid it that most of the day I’m not even sure what I’m doing. I’m fucking pathetic.

Still, it’s turned out to be an unbelievably gorgeous evening; orange and purple, like that weird movie…Tom Cruise innit? And that hot blonde. Only place in the world where this sort of thing happens, England. Pissing it down the entire day and suddenly it all brightens up. She is now sitting in one of the benches right in between the kitchen and the backyard, smoking a fag and pretending I'm not even there. The kettle starts frantically whistling and I go inside to fetch my cup of tea. Because the light is coming from the outside she looks like a shadow, an outline. Suits her well. I don’t have a clue what’s going on behind those brown eyes. I’m afraid she’s reading me. But somehow I want her to. It’s like my fears start and end where she begins.

‘You alright?’

‘Yep. you?

‘I don’t get you sometimes.’

‘You’re not supposed to’.

quarta-feira, 4 de junho de 2008

anticipation anxiety

Just how far is too far, she thought. How long can one go on sleeping without ever resting, dreaming over and over again about possibilities that can never be touched. For how long can she hold her breath? Hold her tongue? Disgusted, she felt ultimately disgusted with herself. As dirty as the grey sky and all the rubbish the wind kept swirling around her on that ghostly Sunday. Wait a second, it was Monday. Bank Holiday Monday. What are Bank holidays if not disguised Sundays? A lot of time in your hands and nothing to do with it. It reminded her of Larkin’s poetry, of life being ‘first boredom and then fear’. Maybe that was it. The tiny windmills of cigarette ends, plastic bottles and dirt reminding her that whatever shit you sweep under the rug will always find its way back to you. Uncertainty is only beautiful when you are unsure whether to get the caramel or the hazelnut latte at Starbucks. Other than that it just suffocates.

She looked at the garden beside her – it is amazing how things die so fast. Or how well life can be simulated. Last week it was blooming with the lushest Tulips, and today it was just a big dump with some daisies scattered around. Not multicoloured, but brown. True happiness, like flowers, doesn’t come out of nowhere, doesn’t bloom suddenly and is definitely not easy to achieve. It takes struggling hard against shitty weather and bloody Sun(Mon)days. And, most importantly, it is incredibly difficult to spot. She had known that for quite a while, but it was getting increasingly complicated to hold on to it. To keep searching for beauty in unexpected places.

All she wanted to do was to breathe the summer in and exhale peace of mind. But it was not up to her. She was breathing everything in and was unable to let anything out, like a balloon. Too bad that secrets and lies never took anyone anywhere.

quinta-feira, 15 de maio de 2008

Sleeping arrangements

Still reluctant to open her eyes, Alice decided that the best thing to do was to explore that new territory with her hands and feet first. She soon realized that she could perform this tactile space recognition with her entire body, since she was completely naked.

Far from being upset, she actually smiled, remembering how she loved waking up to find herself in a place that was not the one she expected – a hotel room in the very first day of a holiday, a friend’s house after a slumber party, her summer house in an unexpected winter trip. She loved that fraction of second when you realize that instead of rushing into everyday routine you are going to be able to stretch yourself and, with that feeling of joyful excitement of who just won an unexpected present, crawl back under the sheets and plan the day ahead of you.

That had happened a lot, she recalled, when she moved out of her parents’ house. Sometimes, when she was still in that sleeping-awake state, right before actually waking up, she would expect to open her eyes (always one at a time, in order to make the transition slower and blurrier) and find herself in her old room back home. Not that that was not good, but actually waking up and realizing that she was in her own house, spreading herself in her own double bed and in control of her own life was just a bliss. Also, she had finally gotten an old wish – a bed in the corner of the room. It was a silly wish, she knew, but she just found it incredibly cozier to have walls beside and behind her bed

She also remembered a very old story, one that her mother loved to tell everyone in order to stress how the signs of her independency showed even before she stopped peeing in her bed – literally. According to her mum, at the age of about four, having wetted her bed in her sleep yet again and not being able to wake mum and dad up with the usual mumbling, she picked up the pillow and the duvet – the latter having escaped unharmed from the incident by being kicked down to the edge of the bed – , took her pajamas off, and set camp on the floor. The next morning, when she entered the room, her mother nearly cried, as she spotted her child fast asleep on the carpet, laying on one half of a duvet and covering herself with the other half, her wet pajamas scattered close to the bed. ‘You looked so tiny and fragile and I just felt like the worst mum in the world for not waking up’, she would say. ‘But then I realized how much that meant in terms of your personality. So young and already so strong’.

Until that day Alice just felt embarrassed by the whole story, especially because her mum usually picked the worst scenarios for telling it; basically the one’s involving recently introduced boyfriends. But thinking about it at that particular moment, it was actually quite sweet; and quite true. She was feeling at her most independent. And she was again naked and rolled up in a duvet, except that now it wouldn’t be her mum to wake her up.

She finally decided it was time to open her eyes, as the memories from the previous night were finally catching up with her and she realized that there was nothing to be embarrassed or afraid of. She was actually quite excited about it. Definitely puzzled, but more curious and eager for the unfolding of that new story than anything else. And yet she hesitated for second, knowing that the first thing she spotted would be forever linked to waking up in his bed, and so she hoped not for a ‘Playboy-bunny-of-the-month’ poster.

Deciding to break the ‘one eye at a time’ rule – she enjoyed breaking her own silly rules as much as she loved making them – she rolled to her right side and opened both eyes at the same time, only to find her nose standing less than 30cm away from a wall.

‘A corner bed’, she thought, ‘couldn’t have started better’.

quarta-feira, 9 de abril de 2008

Once upon a writer

I don’t really understand why, but we go out every Saturday night – my mother, my father and I – to have dinner at a fancy restaurant. I don’t understand why is it that they go through all the trouble of choosing a place, making reservations, dressing up, spending money (and I mean a lot of money, because I’ve never seen two people eat as much as they do). I wouldn’t be bothered; I mean, I wouldn’t if I could. Being fourteen leaves not much choice. There is seldom a special occasion (apart from our birthdays, but that only means that there’s gonna be a “surprise” cake after the main course), there is nothing to celebrate and, most importantly, there is nothing to talk about.

At least at home we can put an end to the sepulchral silence that installs itself after the five minute ‘how-was-your-day?’ chat a lot quicker, by eating faster and, in the case of my overweight parents, even more disgustingly and ferociously, and then setting off to the TV set and its comforting, hypnotizing sound.

At restaurants we are forced to stare at each other, waiting for the waiter to come and put us out of our misery. But even when he comes it doesn’t mean it’s any less dull. My mother will make a monologue about the menu and how the dishes lack an ‘extra touch’ only she knows, because her mother told her, and her grandmother, and…well, you get the picture. By this time I take a deep breath and suppress the growing desire of screaming ‘Then for fuck’sake what are we doing here?’ and simply smile sarcastically, imagining how much fun it would be if I actually had the courage to do so. I take comfort in the fact that she thinks I’m smiling because I agree that her food is actually better than the restaurant’s. She then proceeds to a meticulous description of the ‘proper’ way to prepare said dish, always salivating a lot. When she is done, it’s my father’s turn to start a monologue, this time about the wine menu, emphasizing the fact that it doesn’t properly match the food menu. Finally he calls the waiter again to ask if ‘there isn’t anything special stored at the cellar that is not on the menu’. I feel very embarrassed every time he does that, who does he think he is? Does he think he is better than everyone else to deserve something special? He is nothing but a fat, loud chap who got luck after years of betting and loosing the family’s money.

I’ll sit through it all pretending to be interested in what’s written on the label of whatever it is that I’m drinking. I have memorized the nutritional values of every single soda you can name, both regular and light, as well as the guideline daily amount for both children and adults. Don’t worry, I won’t bother you with that.

Also, I have discovered a much more interesting occupation the keep me distracted while the minutes drag themselves; something to fill in the (many) blanks of my adolescence while I wait to go away for good, to leave behind these greasy people I somehow learned to love, just because they are my parents. Well, I guess I love them, but I can’t be sure. I mean, they’ve always been nice to me, played with me, took me places, gave me gifts and all that shit…but if I were to die for them, as people do in great tragedies when they lost their beloveds, then they’d go alone. I feel so incredibly different from them that sometimes it seems impossible that they’re actually my parents. I can’t talk to them about the things I like because they simply don’t know what they are or don’t give a shit. I gave up trying to bring up my interests in the above mentioned five minute ‘how-was-your-day’ chat when my mother told me Shakespeare was out of date and gave me Girl Stuff: A Survival Guide to Growing Up for my last birthday. I shouldn’t blame them, but I do…a little. Anyway, love is a confusing thing, and I don’t need to be any older to know that. It is also supposed to be breathtaking, exhilarating and mind blowing; and for that I’ll wait.

Meanwhile, as I am forced by circumstances to numbly drift in this life of high school anxiety and silent meals, I make up stories for other people. I rob them their lives, turn them into whatever my mood tells mo to. I make them my prisoners, although sometimes they trick me and do some very unexpected things. Even I do.

As I stare at my father while he babbles about French Cabernet Sauvignon being better then Chile’s, my gaze is actually fixed on the handsome boy right behind his left shoulder. He makes a signal for us to meet at the cloakroom.

‘I was desperate your mother would see me’.

‘Never, too busy devouring her overpriced meal’.

‘I hate having to come to these places’.

‘Me too. Shall we make a escape?’

My parents woke me up of my daydreaming at the exact moment we were discussing a way to pass unseen by the tables and towards the exit.

‘You haven’t touched your meal, darling’.

Liar, of course I touched it, I even assembled the penne arrabbiata to resemble a castle. I just didn’t eat it. Well, who could after three different starters? The idea of turning into them terrifies me and I eat as little as I can. Anyway, once the desert comes they’ll be distracted again and I’ll have time to run away with the handsome boy.

Bu then this young girl comes into the front door and I overhear what she tells the hostess.

‘How many, Miss?’

‘Just me, can I seat by the window?’

‘Sure, follow me’.

She is alone and in silence like me, but so much happier, I can tell. She’s got that kind of smile that cannot be faked, the one you see in the person’s eyes and not in their mouths. They glow as she glances around the restaurant. I can tell by her accent that she is not British, and she’s got that excitement look of people who are traveling. After her first sip of wine, she takes a Moleskine out of her bag and starts writing something in it. Perfect. I don’t want to make up a story for her, I want hers. I wanna be her and I realize I can. I grab the first piece of paper I can find (a napkin) and take the pen out of my mother’s purse without her even noticing it. Oh, I see, the tiramisu has arrived. I close my eyes for a while and then start.

Red shadows fill the atmosphere of the tiny Italian Cantina where I seat by myself. Is it insane to fell like I’ve blended into the world? A hundred light miles away from my country and still I feel like I am just around the corner of the house I grew up in. Always an outsider and always at home. Never staying too long in one place, but carrying them all with me as I leave. Do they weight too much? No. The more I travel, the lighter I feel. Memories are as light as air if you are not a prisoner to them. And the next memory is always potentially better than the last one when you have nothing to expect.

‘Sweetie, al least have your ice cream’.

Oh, well, the ice cream I can have. I carefully fold the napkin and put it in my pocket. Mental note: buy a Moleskine first thing tomorrow – people look way much cooler carrying one.

quarta-feira, 19 de março de 2008

Letters to homeland

Às 16:50 da tarde em Liverpool o sol está lentamente se entregando à dobra no horizonte, o ônibua 500 começa a se afastar do litoral em direção ao aeroporto e as borboletas no meu estômago estão mais agitadas do que nunca. A lágrima que escorre é de saudade ou de felicidade? Deslizo a língua pelo canto da boca e acho que tem gosto de liberdade - em estado bruto.
Queria poder contar pra todo mundo.

quinta-feira, 13 de março de 2008

A birthday tale

`To be truly religious does not require an institution, it requires terror, faith, compassion, imagination and a bilief in more than three dimensions. It also requires love.`
(Ben Okri)

As I sip my beer and listen to my favourite songs of the week, I feel like the most selfish creature in the world. I listen to Tom`s “Luisa” and to Amarante`s “Último Romance” and I am sure that they were written for me and for me only. I can even remember Gonçalo Tavares telling me that “esconderijo” was written after our accidental encounter at a cafe in Lisbon last summer. Is it ridiculous to think that every single piece of literature and music is intended for me? Or is it not how it should work for everyone else?


`Can I have a pint of Stella and a chicken-pesto wrap please? `
`Sure, have you got any ID on you? `
`Yeah…actually, starting from today, I can even drink in the U.S if I want to. `
`Oh, happy birthday! `
`Cheers. `


It’s five past midnight and the floor of my Rio’s flat is covered with luggage and mattresses. After about 10 minutes of arguing everyone realised that I should be the one to choose the soundtrack, so Franz Ferdinand was playing loud in the living room.
` Who booked the freaking flight for 9 am? I reckon flying with a hangover is supposed to be shit. `
` I know so, it actually is. But then again, it is my birthday, and I say we face it. Come on, blondie, I even left the vodka out of the fridge for you. `
` Fine…so, how does it feel to be 21, miss? `
` I wouldn’t know; I feel either 18 or 28, never 21. `
` You were always a bit weird…`
` I’ll explain: I feel either an irresponsible, ruthless freshman or a recently graduated doctor. I am all extremes. `
` And which of them are you right now? `
` Both…I suppose. Hum, how weird. `
` So I guess that makes you 21. `
` Indeed. `


` Can we sleep now? We’re gonna miss the flight. `
` Ok, mother, let’s have some rest. Why did I decide to hang out with my older brother anyway?
` ‘Because we love him and his the best poet we know. `
` I love him, but the second statement is arguable. `
` Oh, jealousy! `


` Hey, are you sleeping? `
` Obviously not. `
` Cigarette, balcony? `
` Shoo, are you coming? `
` Hum, yeah. What happened? `
` Cigarettes, balcony, come! `
` I don`t smoke. `
` I don`t like popcorn and you two always have them at the cinema. `
` Made your point. I’m coming. `
` God, I’m so excited I can barely believe this is happening. `
` Tell me about! Well…reality is a state of mind. `
` Ok, give us a break with the post-modern theories, will you? `
` Ok, ok, let’s finish these and at least pretend we are sleeping. Our taxi at 7:30 a.m is very real.


` For fucks sake, the higher we go, the drunker I get. `
` Pressure, babe. `
`I told you driving would be more fun. `
` Fifty minutes, sweetheart. Hang in there. `
` Have I wished you happy birthday today? `
` About ten times. `
` Have I said I love you today? `
` No, and I love you too. Not just today, tough. `
`No, not just…


` Ok, guys, act not hungovered, it’s my family you are meeting. `
` I thought you had told us your family was ok with the whole drinking thing. `
` Yeah…ok. Act drunk then. `
` Can’t we just act hungovered? `
` No, that’s too obvious. `

` Fuck me, that’s a huge house. `
` So beautiful…`
` Suddenly “On time” makes an entirely new sense for me. `
` Makes all sense. `
` One of the reasons why I wanted to bring you all here. `
` This is going to be perfect. `
` I know. Oh, there she comes. `


` Finally, love. Happy birthday! Come, everyone’s here. Was the trip alright? `
` Yeah, great. I’m a bit nauseous though. I can’t believe that grandpa sent a van to fetch us at the airport, we were going to rent cars…`
`You know your grandfather, dear, he’ll do anything for you. `
` Come, guys, we’ll put our stuff in the bedrooms later. `


Walking behind me, always pushing me forwards: the new. Waiting for me across the garden, always watching for me, the old. And I in the middle, bringing them together, condensating all my lives into myself, into this. The present never felt so joyful


` Here you go, miss, enjoy your meal. `
` Cheers. `
` Don’t get me wrong, please, I really shouldn’t be asking this, but why are you having lunch by yourself on your birthday? I mean, don’t take this the wrong way, you are a beautiful young girl, where are your friends? `
` Oh, believe me, they are all here. `
` Sorry, I don’t understand. `
` Don’t worry, it’s not easy. `


As I walk down the now not so cold streets of Leeds, all is with me. Rio’s familiar faces and places, Guarapari’s garden in a summer day, my mother’s smile and my grandfather’s blue Vuarnet sunglasses and old style Rider sandals. The official party starts in less then five hours, but I’ve celebrated quite a few already. In this motion picture, all is in me, and hence all is possible. Today, always.


Chris Martin is now telling me that `questions of science and progress do not speak as loud as his heart`. And I suddenly realize that maybe that’s it – between my right foot and my right shoulder, between dreaming and living, what matters is what I love. And love knows no physical boundaries (not even the Atlantic Ocean).

sexta-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2008

No pain, no gain

Todos desejamos pertencer. Não adianta, é instintivo. Até as pessoas que mais se sentem confortáveis com a solidão – e me incluo nesse grupo – necessitam e buscam adaptar-se, encontrar pontos de apoio, pessoas com quem se identifiquem, lugares que as façam sentir-se seguras. E isso não é novidade, eu sei. Muita calma, essa não é uma crônica piegas (não inteiramente, digo) e nem vou importuná-los com clichês (não muitos, pelo menos).

Acontece que algo muito engraçado – e alguns diriam um tanto trágico – me aconteceu essa semana e precisava ser documentado. A verdade é que, guardadas as proporções, se o mesmo tivesse ocorrido no Brasil, ali na Gávea, eu provavelmente teria apenas ficado muito puta e a história entraria no escopo daquelas que se conta para ilustrar um dia realmente fodido. Mas – e agora desculpem-se, pois aí vai outro clichê – é uma verdade que despimo-nos de nossas armaduras quando estamos longe de casa, em um lugar que nos é tão estranho. Não foi preciso mais do que 24 horas de viagem para que eu descobrisse isso. Admitir fraquezas e limitações é precisamente a primeira coisa que se deve fazer para conseguir passar por uma experiência como essa sem grandes solavancos. Precisei admitir que não sou boa com mapas, que sou fútil e carrego bagagem demais, que tenho vergonha de não saber o que são e onde ficam as coisas e, mais ainda, de perguntar o que são e onde ficam as coisas. Meu ponto com isso tudo é o seguinte: não adianta ficar putinha, chorar e se desesperar porque você viajou dez horas, pegou um trem, levou um esporro em francês da polícia porque estava “quicando” sua malinha de 34 quilos escada abaixo, pegou um metrô e, na saída deste, descobriu que não tinha escada rolante e você ia ter que carregar (desta vez escada acima) sua malinha de 34 quilos, seu mochilão de 15 e sua bolsinha de mão. É preciso muito senso de humor, calma e uma bela dose de humildade para pedir ajuda e captar a bigger picture da situação, sendo esta: estou na Europa e essa é a viagem da minha vida. Ou chora-se e liga-se para casa, mas não se deve queimar a carta “mamãe, socorro, preciso chorar no telefone” assim tão cedo.

Pois bem, aí vocês devem estar imaginando: ‘bem, se ela percebeu essas coisas assim tão depressa, o que pode ter dado tão errado mais de um mês depois da viagem começada e que mereceu virar uma crônica?’. É aí que a coisa começa a ficar divertida.

Quando preenchi meu formulário de acomodação, marquei todos os quadradinhos de maneira que fosse parar no dormitório mais bagunçado e baladeiro – sem necessidade para mais explicações. Foi o que aconteceu. Acontece que o dormitório bagunçado e baladeiro é também o mais distante da universidade (pergunto-me, inclusive, a título de curiosidade, se acaso os fatos não estão interligados). Nada de desesperador, dez minutos de ônibus fora do horário de pico, 30 na hora do rush. O lugar é bem isolado do centro da cidade, logo não se faz muita coisa à pé. O famigerado Bodington Hall fica na beira de uma highway que liga a cidade ao subúrbio, é gigantesco, cercado pelos gramados do centro de esportes da faculdade e tem uma recepção bem grande, com refeitório, lavanderia, lojinha e, claro, o tão estimado “Bod Bar”, cujo único defeito é fechar às 11:30 da noite. Dito isso, voltemos à sucessão de eventos que desemboca nessa crônica.

Eu estou malhando todos os dias, lá na universidade, depois das lectures e seminars. Organizo meu dia de modo que depois da academia, não me reste mais nenhum afazer acadêmico, para que eu possa então voltar direto para o dormitório. Isso porque o chuveiro daqui é uma delícia e, logo, não faria o menor sentido tomar banho num vestiário nojento e ter que carregar todos os artigos de toilette comigo.

Pois bem, segunda feira, por volta das cinco da tarde, lá estava eu no vestiário da academia, dopada de serotonina e com o corpo super quente. E não é por necessidade de pertencimento e para não parecer a gringa idiota – lembrem-se que eu já superei esses dois problemas – que volto para casa todos os dias com a roupa da academia (short, top e camiseta) e o casacão por cima. É uma questão prática – para vestir a roupa de novo eu teria que tomar um banho, e eu já expliquei porque não o faço. Além disso, é só uma corridinha da academia para o ônibus, o qual me deixa precisamente em frente do meu dormitório.

Voltemos à segunda feira. Estava eu no ponto, ainda quente e sem perceber os quatro graus que faziam do lado de fora, quando lembrei que, no dia seguinte, terça feira, era o “pancake day”. Sem maiores explicações, dia de comer panqueca até morrer; e eu precisava comprar leite, ovos e alguma porcaria para combinar. E foi aí que a sucessão de escolhas muito mal feitas começou. Eu poderia ter ido no mercadinho da universidade, mas lá é caro. Eu poderia ter ido no mercadinho do dormitório, mas lá não ia ter sorvete, eu poderia ter ido a um supermercado no caminho entre a universidade e o dormitório, mas a serotonina é uma coisa perigosa. Ela faz você pensar que quatro graus são 12, que quatro horas sem comer não deixam você fraco e que um passeio até um supermercado que você não conhece, não sabe bem onde fica, mas que todo mundo diz que é o melhor da cidade, pode ser uma coisa boa para se fazer numa segunda feira à noite. Ok, deixo o 95 passar e pego o número 1, o qual, segundo haviam me informado, deveria passar direto pelo meu dormitório e parar no ponto final uns dez minutos depois, exatamente em frente ao ASDA, o maior e mais barato hipermercado de Leeds.

Quarenta minutos depois lá estava eu. Vocês estão anotando, né: short, quatro graus, quatro horas sem comer (que a essa altura já eram quase cinco horas sem comer). Saí do ônibus e comecei a sentir a onda da serotonina passar. Tudo bem, tudo bem, o supermercado é quentinho. E que supermercado! Os meus colegas estavam certos. Um hipermercado no verdadeiro sentido da palavra, tipo o Wall Mart, só que melhor. Cestinha, certo, porque eu só precisava de umas coisinhas para as panquecas? Não, carrinho. Ou vocês esqueceram que é de mim que estou falando? Eu estou sempre precisando de umas coisinhas. Sempre. Quarenta minutos depois (cinco horas e vinte minutos sem comer e com uma boa quantidade de água na boca) (fazer compras com fome é uma das piores besteiras que se pode cometer), estava eu com quatro sacolas pesadíssimas, encarando a saída. Ok, perguntar onde pára o ônibus ou aproveitar a banquinha para comprar um cigarro? Segunda opção, os meus tinham acabado e eu estava com miséria de pagar 40 centavos a mais para comprar na máquina do dormitório. E fome dá vontade de fumar. Quase 20 reais mais pobre, fui-me para o ponto, de acordo com as direções dadas por um senhor que também comprava cigarros.

Ponto de ônibus, quatro graus, cinco horas e meia sem comer: hipotermia, pernas dormentes, dedos roxos. Ainda assim dava risadas, afinal eu estou “ok” com as pequenas burradas que cometo por aqui, certo? E dali há dez minutos no máximo estaria tomando um banho escaldante e, quentinha, prepararia uma das delícias que havia comprado. Enquanto pensava no meu carbonnara, três adolescentes fumavam maconha do meu lado, dentro da cabine semi-aberta onde se espera o ônibus. Ficar quieta na minha ou pedir o isqueiro emprestado para fumar um cigarrinho e esquentar um pouco? Percebam que o fato de que eu não estava com o meu isqueiro já era um sinal divino de que não é uma boa idéia fumar quando se tem pressão baixa, está-se há quase seis horas sem comer e malhou-se nesse meio tempo. Mas eu estava me sentindo burra, eu acho, e acendi o maldito cigarro (o que aliás me rendeu uma mini conversa com os adolescentes chapados digna de ser explorada em uma outra hora).

Um, dois, três tragos – nem um pouco mais quente, mas muito mais tonta.

Ya, you getting on the number one?

Yeah, it stops here, right?

Down there! Run, run!

Great! Apaguei o cigarro, respirei fundo e fui-me correndo ladeira abaixo. O maldito ônibus ainda ficou parado cinco minutos antes de finalmente tomar seu rumo. Percebam que, tivesse terminado aí, ainda estaríamos no nível do engraçadinho. As pessoas nem ririam da minha história – e vocês ficariam fulos da vida de terem largado seus preciosos life-changing-best-sellers para ler uma crônica sobre um dia de merda que nem foi tão engraçado assim. Começo a temer os tomates no fim do espetáculo. But then again...

O caminho de volta consistia em uma volta na praça onde fica o ASDA e uma linha reta de volta ao centro da cidade, passando pela entrada do meu dormitório. Esse ônibus, assim como todos os outros, à exceção do 95, não entra no meu dormitório, o qual, como já expliquei, fica na beira de uma highway e é grande pra caralho. Highways, como vocês devem imaginar, são sempre muito repetitivas, e a arquitetura britânica, digamos assim, não é lá o supra-sumo da criatividade. Agora vem a parte crucial: pedir ao motorista para parar no ponto mais próximo da entrada do Bodington Hall ou confiar no meu traseiro semi-congelado e semi-tonto para dar o sinal na parada certa? E foi aí que o meu sentimento de pertencimento enganou a minha recém adquirida humildade para perguntar e pedir ajuda, e eu fiquei com a segunda opção.

Foram dois pontos de erro, e uma caminhada de mais ou menos dois quilômetros. De short, num frio de quatro graus, com a mochila pesada nas costas, sem a serotonina, tendo feito a última refeição umas seis horas antes. Isso sem contar que era uma highway , cercada por intermináveis e assustadores campos para a prática de esportes (que no frio nada mais são do que campos não iluminados).

Eu poderia ter queimado a carta “mamãe, socorro, preciso chorar no telefone” nesse instante, mas acho que estou guardando-a para o dia em que perder meu passaporte no leste europeu. Ao invés disso, fui andando devagar, tentando rir da sucessão de idéias bestialmente idiotas que havia tido naquelas últimas horas. O termo “asneira galopante”, cunhado pelo querido mestre Paulo Henriques Britto, veio-me à cabeça inúmeras vezes. Foi quando senti pela primeira vez uma das malditas sacolas chocar-se contra a minha semi-viva perna esquerda. Não deu pra perceber o tamanho do esbarrão, dado às condições cadavéricas da tal perna. Não parei para descansar ou mover as sacolas de mão, aparentemente a única idéia razoavelmente acertada da noite, uma vez que fazê-lo significaria não conseguir sair do lugar de novo. Já não sentia mais nada, o que não deixava de ser uma boa coisa. Durante todo o caminho desejei que alguém passasse por mim e me ajudasse, mas o único ciclista que se deparou com o que para ele deve ter parecido um fantasma que havia acabado de receber o décimo terceiro, não fez nem menção de ajudar.

Parei na porta do meu dormitório por volta das sete horas, larguei as sacolas, mexi levemente os dedos da mão – iam sobreviver. Tateei pela chave com certa dificuldade e, ao abaixar para pegar as sacolas novamente, percebi que estavam melecadas de um líquido avermelhado. “Porra, vazou a carne”, pensei. Não exatamente. Quer dizer, figurativamente falando, vazou a carne — a da minha perna esquerda. A embalagem das batatinhas pré-cozidas ao molho de manteiga e ervas, para ser mais precisa, rasgou a carne da minha perna esquerda. Do terço mais baixo da coxa, passando pelo joelho, até o meio da batata (a da perna), somam-se cinco hematomas e um corte bem feio. Uma obra de arte, digo, de estupidez.

Tomei o melhor banho da minha vida e devorei com toda a voracidade que possuo as ignóbeis batatinhas.

Na terça-feira, com preguiça de esperar o 95, peguei novamente o número 1 e, enquanto caminhava debaixo de uma chuva fina e gelada, percebi que uma garota encontrava-se quase na mesma situação que eu no dia anterior (ela não estava de short, mas tinha o agravante da chuva).

Need a hand with that?

God, yes!

A Rosie é de Londres e faz Latin American Studies na universidade; aprende espanhol e português e veio aqui me agradecer no dia seguinte. E é aí que minha história fica clichê e piegas de novo.