Airton Ícaro Cantúaria Gonzaga
We learn very early that just wanting is not enough. Astronaut dreams broke when he was nine (he studies a lot, a lot, and in the end the space leaves his bones weak). Ballerina’s dreams broke at 11 (teacher said that if I continued to eat like that, with those cuteness jumping on the pink lycra, it would never be a big deal; now, I prefer bakeries to theaters). The teachers’ teachers got hurt pretty badly at 8:30 (just seeing how the teachers start the year and get wilted until around Christmas it hurts a lot in the chest, and we give up). Apart from the seven-year-olds, eight, eight and a half, nine and seven days. Being rich (then we discover that this job already has an owner), being a housewife (until I see that this is not even a dream), being a singer (until they say that a child’s voice is boring), being a scientist (and my brother laughed saying that this was not a child’s thing, much less a girl, let alone someone who had something on their mind). I didn’t laugh. I was red, half ashamed, half angry. He turned, ran and became a child, dreaming of something easy. Once in a while, stop thinking. Killing dreams, sometimes. And the years went, went … taking me along. I looked back, a little sad, a little tired. No tears, kind of not knowing what the sadness was. It is difficult to understand that things die. First, we learn that pets end up. Then people, grandpa, grandma, uncles, they all break up. Then other things die, and nobody notices much. Nobody prepares us. My dreams crashed with such desire on the floor of childhood, and I there, letting it break. Sad, looking. Missing something hard to feel. I still lost.
- You know what happens, right?
- What happens! When it stays like this, dreaming aimlessly.
- Ah. Um … No. I don’t know.
- We just break our heads, because life goes on while you are dreaming.
It’s not that I didn’t know. But then, coming from a big guy, respected even, brother of a lifetime, I couldn’t ignore him anymore. He laughed while talking, it bothered almost everyone. Even though I was used to it, I always listened to it with red cheeks, while the words of laughter echoed. I always listened to what he said, since it always seemed like a joke, but it was serious at times. That day, a serious day, I decided to train. Not to dream. Or to dream less. I told this to the girl who sat next to me, Monday through Friday, on the sleepy mornings at school. She was not yet my friend, only that she stayed close and listened, and that was already halfway to any future between us.
- I don’t dream anymore.
- IS? It’s because?
- You can’t. It never does. If I don’t learn to live, live soon, things will hurt over time, and then I lose my life and the dream will end up going together. So … let it go.
- Strange thing! I don’t even know how it should be.
- Nothing more. Everything that comes to mind, I let it go. Whatever tries to stay, I break with another thought. And life goes on, understand?
- Yes. And then you’re happy, right?
Did not know. And it hurt not to know. And even though it hurt so much, I held on, knowing that this sensation didn’t make me laugh alone or jump out of nowhere or taste chocolate filling my whole mouth. It just hurt. And it still hurt.
On a strange day, an old dream of being a truck driver ran away and grew up. When I woke up, I was thinking about the street, like I never thought before. On the asphalt, in the mess, on the wheels, in the heat. I thought, and with a light body, I got on the bike, on the way to school, without coffee in my stomach and without hunger too. Riding on balance, I imagined the bike as big as it could fit, and I started pedaling my two-wheeler, fast. Sweat and tiredness oozing, talking, without stopping to breathe, with the girl in the chair beside her.
- Hey, hey, you know about a truck?
- Look, I know it’s big and a lot can fit. And it’s a man thing. I shut up. She had heard it before and the conversation ended so quickly that the other woman’s eyes widened, thinking she had said a big mistake. And had. But he didn’t care. Me neither. We
accepted, time passed and we were fine. IS. Good.
A new pain every day. This was not new, but my collection accepted repeated figures. Some were already making large, heavy piles, pressing well into their chests.
“Man’s thing”. This echoed, as I dragged the bike home, without riding, just bringing it next to me, very close, trying to share the sadness. She ran slowly, as if stopping to cry. I’m glad. Without my imagination, I would be worse off.
The phrase of the girl in the chair next door stayed until night. I, angry, thinking about everything that the three words had already stolen from me. What is a man? Beard, mustache, leaving late, arriving late, or just coming and going and that’s it, easy clothes, cool things to do. I could live without almost everything, but what about the cool stuff? What was left for me? And for the other girls on the other chairs? After a while, I realized that the truck wouldn’t give me. But there was so much, moreover, that I had to forget, because the words, the three, came from somewhere dark and with a tongue, destroying everything. Only, if I wanted to learn not to dream, I had to train more. And to train, those words were good, they killed a lot of dreams. Then I continued to break dreams, and while they died, others were flooding the thoughts. And although I wanted to drown there, happy with life, I pretended I didn’t care, to break these new ones that came. Sometimes, the pieces of some joined together and formed such cool things to see that when I was going to break, I trembled without air. So much that I wanted to breathe …
It was then that one day, walking slowly to school, the woman on the corner stopped me. She sang, with an old guitar in her lap. But the two, so in tune, so beautiful, glided by the wind. Old music and an emotion that didn’t even have a name yet. I cried after a long time. I don’t think she even saw it. But it’s alright. A box in front of her was filled with coins, from a few smiling people nearby. She wanted to put it on, but my lunch money would be missed. I thought better of it. I put it anyway. If she saw the tears falling along with the coins, she didn’t stop singing to keep looking. I arrived late at school, missed a class, didn’t care. The girl in the chair next to me asked what had happened, if everything was going well. I went straight to the chair with slow responses, rhythmic with my fingers, as the woman did on the guitar.
- Hey, are you okay? You were late.
- I’m fine, I’m fine. Yes I am.
- Absolutely, good. Quiet, peaceful.
We turned to class. She, at least. Me, I was far away. Wiggling my fingers, in the teacher’s rhythm, in the rhythm of the wind hitting the window, in the wrong rhythm. My pace.
There was no hunger. I almost didn’t remember that I had to leave, go home. I remembered my brother and the only bad thing about music: my child’s voice. “Voices are growing,” I thought happily. Among so many pieces smashed from other dreams, what I had most was space for music to grow. And she grew up. Dad’s old records. The fingers were tapping. I never saw the woman again, but that’s okay. My pace. Mom cooking and singing. Legs moving and me following. And me singing too, in silence. Dreaming song, fingers tapping. Listening, alone. Teeth chattered, tongue making small melodies, and fingers inside pocket. Stopped. Always setting the pace.
And then, even on days when I only had music left, I was not alone anymore. At least, he was leaving the loneliness fast. Even when I sat quietly in the dark room, with a droplet wanting to come out of my eyes because of a bad day, songs took me out to dance. So, beauty.