MUTUM OPERATION – THE GRIEF AND THE PARTY

(Episode 27)

July 5, 1975
Mourning and the party

Saturday promised. After all, on this day two events would take place in Mutum that would stir up the whole city, although at the same time they represented a great paradox.
The first would take place at noon when the burial of Moses, O Gordo, would take place, because as much as everyone liked him, he should have a very busy funeral. It was certain that almost the entire city would be accompanying his last walk through the city, from the home of Dona Albertina, Cristina’s aunt, where the funeral had been held, all night, to the local cemetery behind the Igreja Matriz.
The second would happen from twenty-two hours, at Clube Esportivo Mutuense, when all the high society of the city would be participating in the Ball of Overture of the Holidays, that occurred every first Saturday of the month of July, annually, since 1950. This year it would be being celebrated the twenty-five years of the ball. Its importance was such that it could only be compared to the Farewell Ball that took place on the last day of July. In addition to the important people of Mutum, the dances were attended by representatives of the neighboring cities. From ten o’clock on the first Saturday night until four o’clock on the first Sunday of July, few slept in the city. Exception made to Moses, O Gordo, who for the first time and for all time would stop attending the Holiday Overture Ball for not being able to wake up from his eternal sleep. Which, according to some friends, could well happen.
His wake was, as everyone expected, a public success. Throughout the night, the home of Dona Albertina, Cristina’s aunt, his girlfriend and whom Gordo would marry, certainly, if he had not died, was crowded with people. Their parents, unhappy with the misfortune that had happened to them, were always lamenting sitting in a room, where they were comforted by friends and relatives who hugged them saying words of support or simply wept with them. Cristina, on the other hand, was inconsolable next to the coffin exposed in the room, among candles, from which she never left her foot all night. He stayed there, watching his beloved, praying quietly and, occasionally, startling with a hand gesture some more audacious mosquito that insisted on landing on poor Poor Fat. So Friday night passed and Saturday day dawned. As in every wake, slices of cake and plain or milk coffee were served throughout the night, as well as a cachaça to warm up the people who had stayed there to watch Moses, the Fat One.
So many people attended the burial that, from Rua das Goiabas to the Church, where a mass was to be celebrated, the burial procession took more than two hours to finish. Scheduled to go down to the grave at twelve o’clock, Gordo’s body was only buried when it was after fifteen. Only then did people descend Morro do Cemitério to return to their homes where, after a well-deserved rest, they would prepare for the ball that would take place that night. Without Gordo. Which was a shame, his friends said.
The previous dances had been a success, with people coming from all the neighboring cities and some even from the capital. Also, with the fame that the city had to be the land of beautiful women, it was not surprising.
From an early age, even when they waited to bury Gordo, the city streets were already busy, with young men and women arranging meetings, discussing clothes and confirming the couples who would be swirling on the club floor.

From the window of my grandfather’s house, I watched that movement as I prepared to go to the cemetery. He had spent part of the night watching and paying my last respects to Gordo, of whom he had been a friend. As I watched the boys come and go, I thought about what that night would be like. Although he didn’t like to dance, he sometimes went to the club when there were dances just to watch and chat with friends. Only this time, with the history of the bombs, I decided that I would not go to the dance and that I would just go around, exchanging ideas with anyone who could talk.
Since the individual invitations had already been sold out several months earlier and all four-seat tables had been sold, the club would be full. In compensation, many of those who would like to go to the ball, and could not, would be available, for sure, for a good chat outside, in the square.
In the evening, I first went to the club’s door before the ball started and spent some time talking with some acquaintances. The conversation almost always revolved around the bombs or Gordo’s death.
The dance started and the songs performed by the group reached where we were. As time passed I became more and more distracted by the conversations.
Heaven was already preparing for Sunday dawn when I decided to go to my grandparents’ house to get some sleep.
The dance started and the songs performed by the group reached where we were. As time passed I became more and more distracted by the conversations.
Shortly after two in the morning, when I was already thinking about going to Bar do Paulo, I realized that someone was calling me, at the door of the club. I went there and came across a girl I knew by sight. I approached and she asked if I didn’t mind taking her home, that her boyfriend’s asshole had gotten drunk and was sleeping on the table, that she was really pissed off with him and wanted to leave as soon as possible as soon as possible, before he woke up. I told him that I didn’t mind, that I had no problem, that it would be a pleasure and we went walking side by side.
I had seen her a few times, but always in the square, during the footing and I didn’t know where she lived. I just set out to accompany her.
He told me that his house was close to the old football field. It was nothing close. Practically on the other side of the city, almost at the exit to Lajinha. I asked how she got to the club and told me that her boyfriend’s “son of a bitch” had taken her by car. I laughed and made some comment about the poor boyfriend, and she spent a long time reciting all the bad words she knew. I saw that I did not curse him for having drunk too much. On the contrary, it was not showing high. He cursed his boyfriend for having drunk too much and slept in the middle of the dance. And there we went, following the path to his home, walking slowly and talking. I put a hand on her shoulder and she, leaning against me, ran a hand around my waist.
At some point the street became darker and with a slight squeeze on her shoulder I stopped her, turning her to face me. He looked at me as if he was surprised but made no move to move away. I approached my face and kissed her. At first, a light, discreet kiss. She then hugged me and kissed me willingly. A long kiss in which our tongues sought each other and curled up there, in the middle of the street where we were standing. Without a word we walked away from the street and leaned against a wall. There we embraced, kissing each other more and more intensely. She clung to me and when I started taking off her panties she said to me “No, we can’t. Not today. After. Other day”. We exchanged another long and lingering kiss and went back to walking embraced in the middle of the street. I took her home and I can assure you that she was happy. So happy that he didn’t even curse his boyfriend anymore. As for me, I gave up going back to the club and went to Bar do Paulo to wait for the ball to end. As I walked back, an old saying came to my mind that said water down the hill, fire up the hill and women when they want to give, no one can handle it. I decided not to go to Bar do Paulo and return home. I could still get some sleep and I needed a shower after the night I had. The sky was already preparing for the dawn of Sunday.

(To be continued next week)

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