The last pulse
Schirlei Stock Ramos
The shot had hit the middle of the chest. The sunlight gleamed the red of the flesh and the bleeding that spread across the sidewalk, running down the street and gathering even more curious people. On the floor, wrapped in blood, he could hear the buzz of people saying:
“Well done, leave it there”. “Here you do, here you pay”. “Bandit, had the
it deserved. ”
There, lying with his arms outstretched, suffering waiting for relief, the assailant oscillated between life and death, between heaven and hell. It had all happened so fast. From the assault decision to the arrival of the police. The exchange of fire, the adrenaline of the escape and for a moment the certainty that the escape was certain, but it was interrupted by the crash, followed by the pressure of the bullet that passed through his back, leaving the chest. Everything was so fast and now that time lapse, which the blurred soul could no longer measure.
The heavy eyes struggled to focus on the light, perhaps they would see a familiar face, someone they could appeal to. But the heavy eyes could barely see the people who mocked and said things about the criminal. And so, in addition to the humiliation of that fatal hemorrhage, in that vexing circumstance, I also knew that I had to bear the brunt of that stigma. He was a thief and he carried that weight wherever he went.
Oscillating, he felt that his life was in decline. That the constant criminal choices over the years would take its toll and the settlement would be there, there would be no remission. He felt tired, humiliated.
I no longer had any illusions, dreams disappeared and that was not new, it was not a consequence of that situation. The shame of being there, in a condition of human misery and the fear of what was soon to come, now that his body was an anchorage of death made him want, briefly, to understand how he was disfigured and ruined in that way. How did you get to this? How did it end up like this … His only bed on the sidewalk and as companions only those people who mocked and judged his suffering just.
Had he not once been a child for his mother, had he never had children’s toys, had he not played with the clay, or run in the streets? However, now, he lay on the edge of the abyss, on the edge of life, with death on his heels. It was, there, a human scourge on a dirty sidewalk, where inert, deprived of memories of the past and hope for the future, he was left with only the torture of the present, a nightmare of enormous terror.
He didn’t know who it was anymore, he didn’t know how much he stole, or how many times he would have stolen. He did not know the injured people, nor the reasons that led him to steal, he only knew that he was a thief. However, he was able to remember the expression of some victims, the fear expressed in their eyes and how indifferent it was for so long. He could remember some women, whose dignity he sometimes stole from them too.
He understood in the midst of the oscillation and weak thinking of those who already agonize over the mockery and provocations of the curious people around him.
And even his thief’s heart resented being there, tearing itself apart, with a hungry soul. I would do anything to change your condition.
It came to mind, already troubled by the dread of the impending end, to the expression of his mother, who now seemed to look sad.
Would it always have been like this? As the mind wandered in reverie, he also remembered the few years he had been in school.
Her childhood had been trampled on many times and her sensitive part had died before. He remembered the days exchanged for nights that would have yielded nothing in his life. He remembered lonely dawns on the streets, who did not return home out of shame and contempt for his own life. Between flashes and disconnected memories, he was now sure that he had once been a child, had been young and had had moments in his vague existence when he could have made other choices. Now, perhaps, he belatedly realized that everything had always been a choice.
With a last resort of human autonomy, he tried to move his body, which was still almost useless, still trying to protect the soul that was already trying to detach itself from it. With an insensitive body, he remembered a caress, he knew what it was like, he had already been caressed, even though he was also a bandit, he had once liked someone and things that seemed better than what he had chosen for himself until now .
As he became aware of his condition, it now cost him more pain to remember the past. It no longer mattered the tour to where he would have left until he arrived there, in that degrading condition of a frustrated, wounded man, mocked by strangers, because he knew that any balance in his life would not be good. Behind the barriers he had created around his heart, a wave of regret broke out. I wish I could go back.
He would do anything to remake his life, to recover the strength of his already useless body, but he knew that only the pain he felt, there at that moment, would not be enough to cancel the moral debt of a wasted whole life.
The sadness of externalizing all his emotions, there, under the eyes of the curious, left him with a contorted expression of pain, however, his body was inert, insensitive, anesthetized. A bitter tear flowed over him, which blurred his vision more. It broke down into a lonely, convulsive cry, a cry from someone who failed so miserably. In the puddles of tears, some memories still swam. He was crying for his life. He was crying for himself.
For a moment, his lips felt dry, he was thirsty and his body, which had been null before, now seemed heavy even though it was lying on the floor. At that hour he heard the sound of the siren of the approaching ambulance. Again his eyes were blurred. More memories surfaced. He remembered that as a boy he liked to help his mother with the housework. Why did you stop liking it?
He feels spasms in his chest and they are more and more frequent, the blood drips wetting the dirt on the sidewalk. The ambulance arrives.
- Can you hear me, sir? These were the last kind words he could hear, spoken not by someone he loved, but by a stranger, albeit in solidarity, a stranger whose eyes could no longer see. He wanted to answer, but he lacked strength and words did not break the inertia of his pale lips.
He felt the body being dragged, among the people watching the scene. He wanted to open his eyes to see the light of the world, tried to breathe deeply, once again, but his body no longer responded, and the light was finally extinguished.
The people who were there knew nothing about that criminal. They did not know how many crimes or the burden of guilt they carried with them. He was a criminal like so many. The thief, even when his eyes were already dimmed by the feverish horizon of death, knew only of himself, that he was an obstinate son, whose mother would have a broken heart and whose father would have long since lost all hope in him. And before his heart gave the last beat, he wanted to rescue in the essence of his character, ideals of love and justice, taught at some point in his disastrous journey.
When the ambulance left, the onlookers began to disperse and the street gradually became more normal. A man who worked in front of the sidewalk threw a bucket of water in the still warm blood, dispelling traces of any agony or laceration. While the water washed the sidewalk, making the street a tranquil scene again, in the air there was still a feeling that for that man, there, at that moment, pillars of love and justice were projected abstractly between heaven and earth, a place where all humanity will inevitably be confronted.