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“SHOOTING STARS DON’T SAY GOODBYE”
Translated by - Wellington S.O.
““SHOOTING STARS DON’T SAY GOODBYE””
Written By Marcos Ferreira
Copyright © 2015 Marcos Ferreira
All rights reserved
Distributed by Babelcube, Inc.
Translated by – Wellington S.O.
Cover Design © 2015 Vagner Pena
Marcos Ferreira and “Babelcube” are trademarks of Babelcube Inc.
“SHOOTING STARS DON’T SAY GOODBYE”
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locals is entirely coincidental. | Copyright ©2015 – All rights reserved. | Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
For a long time I lived without finding
For a long time I lived without finding
For a long time, I didn’t know what to think
For a long time I lived without finding
Come, be mine
Emily is 23 years old, history teacher and lives with her parents and her younger brother, Jason. It would all be perfect in her life if there wasn’t one small detail: She is blind. Even though, she became an independent girl that despite the difficulties overcame her blindness and is able to have a normal life. However, Emily still has difficulties to maintain her romantic relationships, due to prejudices against getting involved with men who differ in her lifestyle.
But destiny will place Matthew on her way, her newest neighbor: young, handsome, with thirst for living. With 21 years old, Matt, how he likes to be called, loves riding his motorcycle, has a tattoo that covers the entire arm and he has just got enchanted by the rare beauty of Ems. She is all that he always wanted; he is the opposite of all she ever imagined to want. It’s a fun romance with touches of humor and a little bit of drama. A big life lesson, showing in its context the difficulties of living in a society that is not prepared to embrace people with disabilities.
“Shooting stars don’t say goodbye” brings an engaging story, narrated on the point of view of the protagonist herself, with a surprise ending, capable of making you get emotional, cry and cheer.
I dedicate this book to my parents, that couldn’t be here to see my dream come true. But that, surely, would be with a large smile on their faces to see that "my craziness" led me somewhere.
Dad, mom, you are the stars that guide my steps.
I couldn’t start this work in any other way besides thanking. I took some time to show my face and say that I really enjoyed writing. If in one hand, when it happened, I had on my way some people who said it was crazy and it was a waste of time, in the other hand, I found very special people who encouraged me and told me I had nothing to fear, that I would get there. Do something that holds someone’s attention is difficult, and at that time we realize how the honest opinion of friends is necessary. These critics help us to improve, and thanks to each one of them that I could overcome this challenge of writing a different novel and that touched me in some way.
Starting with my assistant, editor, broker and friend / sister, Jadde Gonçalves, who always embarked on my craziness and believed that this dream could come true. I thank you. Thanks for all the patience and for believing that everything would work, never giving up. If it wasn’t for her exceptional accompaniment of this book, it wouldn’t have gotten to half of it. Her opinions have made it what it is today, and her extreme dedication to make it exciting transformed it into something that really moved me when I reached the last pages. I don’t know what I would do without you to take care of Matt and Emily. They have much to thank you, and I do too. Pack your bags. We'll take Emily and Mat for the Christmas presentation of The Nutcracker in New York.
Lucas Moraga, great writer of fantastic literature, from my earliest texts was fighting, running along with me so we could get a publisher. Lucão, thank you, and I know that very soon it will be "Hospedeira das Cinzas" that will be read out throughout Brazil. You were there for my "little blind girl" and celebrated with me. Soon we will celebrate together for your achievements and for "Aurora". The Frankfurt Book Fair waits for us.
To my Beta readers that form a family that has always supported me in every "no" that I received and that was with me all the time. Thank you very much. I don’t want to be unfair and forget any name, but the family "zapzap" with its tortures and laughter accompanied this fight and deserves all this credit for the support and can be very well represented here by the heads of this troupe: And, Jeff, Juh Lari, Lay, Sara, Tay, Thai and Well. All Betas have you as representatives and are proud of it. And Larissa, I will be forever grateful for you having given your voice to "that" song. I'm forever indebted to your sister, your cousin and you. Prepare the jet to our tour. We’ll go to Los Angeles.
Dani Bandeira, my first Beta reader, voracious reader, that read in record time and believed it would be a success. I believe in this promise and want to read a book written by you soon. Cleyton Muniz, that despite the lack of time always got a minute to read and comment on my writings, my “thanks” doesn’t have size. You two have been and will always be my brothers. Like Silas and Gezer, that pushed me forward with words so I could keep on going. They helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel when I didn’t see anything anymore. It’s not only of blood that a family is made of, but also of heart. One day we will celebrate in Vegas.
Diego Viana, my exclusive Art Director. I don’t know how many times I got into your commitments to ask for one or another art that would help in the advertising of this book when it was not even a book yet and not only this project, but all the projects that demanded something graphic to give it an extra charm. I don’t know how to thank the friendship and goodwill with which you always received me. If I write a thousand books in each one of the thousand I will thank you. Thank you. Prepare yourself that soon you will work exclusively with me. And pack your bags. You are also coming to celebrate in Vegas.
I thank Google. Thank you, friend, for always being there at the moments I needed some urgent research and you have always been willing to help me. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know what would have happened to my doubts.
And last but not least, I thank my family. In particular, my children, Netto and Murillo, who got busy playing with something while I wanted to have time to write. And my wife Valéria Santos, for her patience, even angry, when she called my attention to something and I didn’t even listen because I was too connected to the life of Emily and company. Thank you and thank you. I'm happy to have you, to have a family that is not like those of a TV commercial, but that deserves to be registered forever in the pages of a book. Perfection may not exist, but you are to me what get the closest to that. Thanks for everything. I love you. With you, I want to celebrate at Disney.
Thanks to all who directly or indirectly believed that this would work.
To all of those who followed the production of this book, the ones that saw it following a path of illusions and got back to stage one and almost giving up the dream of being published, but with the strength of all of you, I got the strength to take control of the situation and I finally got here. I only have one thing to say to you: thank you.
“Do you know when you think that your life is great and nothing different can happen to you? But then, something comes along and turns it upside down? Welcome to my life! You will know my story. You will know “my upside down”.
- Emily Mondini
That was already the fourth time straight I repeated the tracks released from the new Justin Timberlake’s CD. He sang great songs, among them my favorite: Mirrors. I loved to hear him singing as much as watching him acting, I still remember when they launched Friends with benefits, a great romantic comedy that made me laugh a lot. His voice, fitting every moment and showing how good actor he was made me become even more of a fan, although this is not news to anyone that follows him since the time of N'Sync.
It was after two in the afternoon and I had not been out to lunch, and oddly enough, my parents hadn’t knocked on my door and invaded, as usual, to wake me up and take me downstairs so I could have the meals.
I already knew all the paths of my house. I didn’t even need Adolfo, my guide dog, who faithfully accompanied me wherever I went. When you walk a lot in a place your other senses ended up being sharpened. Your body memory ends up telling a lot to you. I don’t even know if there’s such thing as body memory, but it is fun to invent a few words from time to time to try to explain something.
I don’t know if you could already realize it, but yes, I am blind. My name is Emily Mondini, I'm 23 and I have a trauma in the retina that prevents me from seeing anything. I was born like that, without seeing anything at all, but for a while I had sight, which allowed me to know a little of the world of colors, shapes and so on.
I am the first child of my parents, Eric and Felipa. I know, my mother's name is unusual, she thinks so. She spent all her life complaining about the name, she wanted a name that wasn’t a laughing matter at school, I think her “friends” were quite mean about it. My grandfather wanted to have a boy and when he saw that his dream wasn’t realized he turned the baby boy's name into a girl’s name, so that’s why she’s called Felipa. Well, as I was saying, I am their first child and you can imagine how they were shocked to learn that their daughter had been born blind. At first they didn’t suspected, because as a baby, I was a little silly just like all other babies. But with weeks or months of life, I'm not sure, they realized that I didn’t follow things with my eyes, just followed the sounds and that was when they decided to do tests to find out what happened to me. They discovered that I had this trauma in the retina, but there was a chance to operate and I see. It took time, but it happened.
The house had a very strong smell of eucalyptus. I could bet that my mother had made another of her cleanings in record time, leaving everything shinning, as she liked to say. That was another Sunday, which is natural for us to wake up late. After all, after a long week at work we all deserve to rest.
I went downstairs carefully; I knew exactly where I was stepping. Adolfo came behind me. I know because I heard his breath coming and I felt when he passed through my legs down the last few steps of the staircase. I heard the sweet voice of my mother coming from the kitchen, she was talking to someone, and I think it was our neighbor Greyce. A funny woman that by the voice I would say that was already 50 something years old, though she never told her age to anyone. My father was in the living-room with my brother. Younger than me, Jason is 15 years old and is at that stage of thinking that he can have all the girls, always saying that he is with a different girl, although we never see him with any girls. Well, I will never be able to see him with any girl, even if he is. His voice is changing, becoming more serious, and I love to hear him talking about the funny things he does to have the older girls, those I think that never really care about him. He is tall for his age, should have about 5’7”, because when I hug him, I realize I'm tiny.
The old Greyce was talking to my mother, happily telling the gossip of the street. My dad's soccer team won over my brother’s team. I don’t know how father and son can be so different. Dad tried at any price to make Jason a Corinthiano, while my mother tried to make him a Palmeirense. In the end one of his little girlfriends convinced him to be São Paulino. I didn’t have any team, I decided to not get into this family fight and let them solve it without me. It was funny to hear my dad complaining with that husky voice, claiming to have hopes of seeing Jason wearing the sacred mantle of his powerful big team someday. My dad is funny, looks like an eternal young man; I guess he has the same stature of Jason. I think my brother will grow more than the whole family. Dad is the skinny type with short hair. I always run my hand on his head and joke that I'm seeing him go bald. He gets annoyed with it.
It was night and finally came the time to taste the wonder that Mom had prepared for dinner.
- What did the old Greyce talk so much about, honey? - asked my father, in the dining room while my mother put a tasty vegetable soup on the table.
- She was talking about the new neighbors - she said laughing at the way my father had spoken.
- That woman cannot live without gossiping - he added.
- And does she know how to do anything else, dad? - said my brother, getting into the conversation.
My mother scolded him for making a comment so malicious. How could he call that kind person a gossip? Though it wasn’t a lie. They talked about the Petersons, a family that had just moved, leaving the capital towards the interior. His eldest son had some disease and needed to live as close as possible to a place with fresh air. My mother told us that he was treating himself from some respiratory problem and living in the capital, the costs were very high. My mother said she would make a cake and take on the next day for them, as a form of welcome. It was a typical thing of interior city.
It was six thirty and as expected, I had to get up, take a shower and prepare myself to go to work. Yes, friends, you were mistaken thinking that my life was stopped by the simple fact that I can’t see. I teach history at high school. I teach students in their sixth year, the morning shift, and I can say that I have never seen a student of mine cheating in my tests, if you understand the double meaning of the thing. Even having gone to sleep a little later last night, since we were chatting after dinner until late hours, I managed to wake up on time and getting all ready within the stipulated time.
It’s my father’s due to leave me at school before he goes to work. I could go by myself as well, as I do now and then, but I can’t deny that the morning chill prevents me from being this athlete who loves walking. The school is not so far from my house, my mother keeps insisting that I shouldn’t be settled and I should stop limiting myself to the modernity, as the family car, for example. But I think there is nothing wrong about enjoying it a little bit. My father is a civil servant, working in the administrative area of the city hall. This is one of the reasons we never moved from here, he and my mother have steady jobs since I can remember and this makes people to create roots, get settled. I’m not sure if this is good or bad.
The May 21 Educational Center is two blocks from my house. When passing through the entrance gate, I walk down a long hallway that leads me to the staff room. There is always one of my students to help me. After all it’s not easy to be blind in a place with a lot of children running here and there. I've lost the count of how many times they bumped into me and almost knocked me down. My students are the sweetest. They don’t deny compliments to my beauty and I have to believe them. I have the help of Rita Souza, a short student, with hair at ear level that always helps me with the attendance list. At the time of writing the content on the board they take turns. In addition, they all read excerpts from texts in question so I can explain and clarify doubts. At first I felt a bit of difficulty to work, not by the work itself but by distrust in people. Some parents don’t believe that a blind person has the ability to teach. They don’t understand that true wisdom is much higher than what the eye can see. It comes from within. Thank God there is such thing as a quota for disabled people, if it wasn’t for that it would be difficult to get a job in this country. A fact that is also a trouble for me is the lack of materials in Braille or audio. I have to count on the help of my family to prepare my classes. The government doesn’t provide any material nor for employees with disabilities or to students who pass through it. I understand that the cost to make a book in Braille, for example, is ten times higher than the normal, but I also believe that the exclusion is one of the worst forms of prejudice. You can’t place a blind teacher in a classroom and tell her to just “deal with it”. If regular teachers already suffer from poor working condition, imagine what happens to me. I go through hell.
The principal of the school, Mrs. Flavia Mendes, is a lovely person. She always helped me with everything I needed. Some teachers give me a crossed look. I may be blind, but I'm not crazy. Only by the breath of a person I can tell if he or she is unsatisfied with my presence or not. I'm not incapable. I'm as qualified as them all. I graduated in college by own merits and with much more difficulty that they, because while they could look around and copy from their neighbors’ test, not even that I could do.
Caroline, whom I affectionately call as Carol is one of my great friends. We studied together in high school and also went to college at the same time. We practically grew up like sisters. She's a gorgeous brunette. By the time I went through surgery and became able to see again, she was already my friend, so you can have an idea of how long we know each other. Her voice is kind of fast, a little thin, and almost shrill. She has the habit of speaking too fast and if I'm not controlling it, she might go all the way without using a comma. She chose to be a math teacher, subject that I always hated. She was the one who helped me with my dating at the time of high school, setting dates and taking me. My first kiss was in her presence and she was peeking to see if the principal was around, to not catch me and take me to the principal’s office for skipping class. Rick, my first kiss, is now a psychologist, a handsome psychologist by the way. He has a strong voice, the kind that makes an impact and makes you want to stay there for hours only to listen to him talking and I'm not even mentioning those broad shoulders and his smooth hair. The face in a square format like the one of a Greek god always made the girls sigh. Even I sighed often. I saw him grow, get mature, turn himself into a man. Although, when I say I saw, my perception is different. The beauty for me is the voice. Through it I will create the stereotype. I heard his voice change, getting mature, becoming manly, if it is better for you to understand like that. I still think it’s unfair that he became a psychologist. He barely speaks in the office, patients hardly listen to him.
It was the end of the workday at the school and Rita took me to the door, making my security so that no other student would bump on me again. To tell the truth, I don’t like very much of someone holding my arm, carrying me back and forth as if I were a suitcase. I think that nobody likes that.
My mother was waiting for me at the entrance to take me home. Once again she complained, saying that I needed to create healthy habits, walking, walking to go home and be more independent. It was lunchtime, I find my whole family. My brother – the lazy John – studying in the afternoon. It would not be weird to still find him sleeping.
My mother is thin, has shoulder length hair and a fair skin that is like milk. I remember her brown eyes admiring me when I came out of surgery, when I was six. It was one of the first things that I really saw. Things were a bit blurry, fuzzy, but I remember her. That surgery was not final, I was able to see for a short period of time, but I lost my sight again months later. The doctor said that it could happen, but at least I could see the faces of my parents for some time. But my fingers see very well. I know my mom already has some small crow’s feet joining the side of her eyes. She always denies, creates some excuse, but whenever I touch her face I feel that they are there. That tiny, skinny face. My mother.
On the way home, besides the usual complaints, she decided to compliment me saying I was more beautiful after every new day, that my shoulder-length hair was very shiny and silky and that I certainly should be calling the attention of many boys. Again mom with this talk about boys. It was amazing how she tried to insinuate that I needed a boyfriend. Who said I need a man to be happy? A boyfriend? I know I'm beautiful. I'm blind, but not to that point of not seeing me. But what man would be interested in a blind woman?
At home, after I had lunch and rested a bit, I decided to go out with Adolfo. It was a beautiful Labrador, my faithful companion. Trained to take me wherever I wanted, that day we decided to go to the park, a large place with lots of green and fresh air. It wasn’t so far from my house; I could get there easily, as there were audible signals at traffic lights, to help people like me. I keep thinking about the difficulty of people in cities where they have no kind of accessibility. If I already think my town has little of it, even with the sound signals and sidewalks with markers that help me with the cane I imagine those where nobody gives the lowest value for the disabled, no matter what their types of disabilities are.
At the park I could not see the green, but I felt its presence with pure air coming into my lungs. The grass was soft. I could feel that it was pretty much greenish only by touching it. I lay for a moment, feeling the sun beating down on my face, and put my arm over Adolfo who laid his head on my lap. Children played running back and forth, the only fear I had was to receive the hit of a ball on my face, a fact that had already happened millions of times, not to mention they shouting when asking if I was blind and I was supposed to answer without seem ironic: yes, I'm blind, can’t you see?
I was with my eyes closed, with my beautiful sunglasses over them, feeling the breeze so hot, when I heard someone talking near me.
- Cute dog - said a very beautiful male voice by the way, bringing along a very pleasant scent. - What's his name?
I pretended he wasn’t talking to me and that could really be the case. At that park there were many people walking their dogs.
- Are you sleeping? - the voice continued to speak in my direction. Yes, he was talking to me and I realized that while I pretended not to be listening to him, he would insist. Wasn’t it enough that I was blind? Would I have to be deaf too?
I opened my eyes slowly stroking the head of Adolfo.
- Are you talking to me? - I asked, tilting my head slightly to the place where the sound had come.
- Yes - he said, but this time with the voice from the other side, specifically the left side, where Adolfo was lying. I moved my head quickly in the same direction where the voice came, not to let so clear that I was blind or rude, or worse, a crazy that chatted with people looking at the opposite side. After all, I no longer could pretend to be deaf.
- Your dog is very cute. I like animals very much - he continued.
- Yes - I said. – He is cute. Thank you.
I was feeling uncomfortable with the situation. I didn’t like talking to strangers. I know I was safe. Besides being in a public place, I was with Adolfo and he would never let anything happen to me. But what bothered me was the smoothness of that voice. It was beautiful, attractive. It appeared to be of a young and sexy guy. Although more than appearance, the voices also deceive us.
- As beautiful as the owner - he tried to make a move on me, although it was an unfortunate pass, because in my opinion he just compared me to a dog without even realizing it. – Nice to meet you, my name is Matthew, but you can call me Matt.
At that moment I froze. I froze because I realized what was happening to me. There was a boy introducing himself to me, a guy with a sexy, attractive, manly voice, a young man who seemed to be very beautiful, at least at sound. And more than that, I froze to imagine that I would have another big embarrassment, for sure, after saying the word, "pleasure", he should be with his hand stretching toward me, to greet me. And now what my God? What do I do?
I remember the last time that happened. The boy left angry thinking I didn’t want to greet him and spread all over the city that the beautiful girl with sunglasses was a great rude.
- Nice to meet you, too - I replied, not knowing if he really had the hand stretched toward me.
- I'm sorry if I bothered you. I think you're not really into chat. - He said with a tone more sad than anything I’ve ever heard before. - Have a good afternoon.
I just felt him rubbing his hand on Adolfo’s head and leaving. It was another big embarrassment for my collection of embarrassments. I needed to train Adolfo to learn how to take me out of these situations. So when someone would stretches out the hand towards me, Adolfo would jump, bark, execute a deadly double jump carpaccio backwards, do anything to give me a direction. I was used to my permanent blindness, but it was still strange to introduce myself that way, giving my name and the diagnosis of visual impairment.
I came home knowing I had lost one more chance to get a male friend, a thing that would be very interesting to have these days. Not that I'm a maniac, who only thinks about men, sex, deliciously beautiful voices or anything like that, but I was so sick of the same voices that a different voice would be great. Not to mention that I had some problems that only one man could help me to solve and it was time to start thinking about it.
I spent all afternoon lying on my bed, with Adolfo lying next to me. I took the rest of the day to think. Thinking about my life and what I was doing. How could it be? A beautiful 23 years old girl and still a virgin? It was not possible that this still happens nowadays. I knew no virgin at my age, or in fact, I knew no virgin, with the exception of my students, of course. Although, based on what I’ve been listening lately, I was afraid to ask what these children were watching on television, or worse, what they’ve been actually doing.
Adolfo barked as he was agreeing with my thoughts and I told myself that from that moment on I would change. I'd no longer fear whatever is to come, and I would seek for something new. Enough of being a virgin. I know I can’t stop being blind, but I can work on not being a virgin anymore. I don’t want a marriage. I am independent, beautiful, and cool; it would not be hard to have someone. But that's the problem, it is rather difficult. Only by realizing that you're blind, men already have some fear. They think you will break, shatter, that you are completely dependent, the girl who will want to take his hand, date for years, enter the church wearing white and a veil and finally marry. Oh, the whole story is a thing from the past. I should have solved this long ago, but my blessed blindness always came in the way and insisted in fumbling me.
But then I got real. Just thinking about this virginity story I faced a big trauma: dating. I would not give myself way to any prostitute simply for not wanting to be a virgin anymore. I am a history teacher, I know that there were many battles on behalf of the great empires of women, but I wonder if any of them was still a virgin. Helen of Troy, for example, was one of those. She is not one of my favorite personalities. I could never imagine what she had to have such wonderful men fighting over her. I still remember the voice of Brad Pitt in that movie, going looking for her. But anyway, back to my reality, I need to stop being afraid to get involved. I am a mature, independent woman. I have to take control of my life.
My thoughts were taking me for a thousand paths, showing thousands of opportunities when I heard my mother calling me in the kitchen. My body did not want to take me there and the weight of Adolfo’s head in my lap made me sure that I should keep lying on my comfortable bed. My room was small, with a window next to my bed that was always throwing some fresh air into the room, the bed where I loved to lay thinking about life, a wardrobe, two nightstands and a table where it was my computer and a chair, occupying the small room very well. Even reluctantly I decided to come down, but the lazy Adolfo insisted to continue lying.
I was wearing a cotton dress with a print that I will not be able to explain what it was. It didn’t matter anyway. As I approached the front steps, already turning my face to the kitchen, I could feel a very pleasant smell. It was a very good male colony.
A freshness so familiar that for a moment I closed my eyes, as if it made any difference, and pulled the air harder to find out where the scent was coming so yummy.
- Come here, honey - said my mother, who once again was in the kitchen.
I followed there. The stair was opposite to the door, it was a kind of crossroads that connected the ladder to the exit door, with the kitchen on my right side, and the room on the left. All properly connected.
- This is my daughter, Emily - my mother said to someone who was in the kitchen with her. I could feel that there were two people. There were different flavors, one male and one female.
- Your daughter is beautiful - said the woman to whom my mother had presented me to. - It is a pleasure to meet you.
Once again I felt the chill coming over me. Is it so hard to realize that I'm blind? I was sure that at this stage of the game the lady was already raising her arm towards me. But I was really that scared when I felt her grabbing me and gave two kisses on my face. I stand still, just with a silly smile, not knowing what to do.
- She is visually impaired, Julia - My mother said, trying to explain to the woman why my reaction was so cold.
- Are you blind? - Asked the person who was in the same room and I tried so hard to find out whom he was. A beautiful voice that cherished me and pleased me in a different way.
- What is this, boy? - The lady complained – you don’t talk that way. Don’t call the girl blind. - Julia said, as one who had just heard a big bad word.
- No, don’t worry - I said quietly reaching out to nowhere - no problem in saying that I 'm blind. I'm really blind. I even think it’s more practical to call it that way.
I felt a warm hand holding mine for some time. Not only hold, but put a little pressure, a good pressure. So good that I let go quickly.
- Nice to meet you - said the boy - My name is Matthew, but you can call me Matt. But I get the impression I have seen you before - and he laughed. A delicious laugh, as if he knew that I understood the message he wanted to pass.
I laughed too. I realized he was the same boy who had found me early on at the park. And I also saw that he understood that I was not being annoying or rude, I was just being blind. Literally.
- Jason, my youngest son, should be in one of his little girlfriends’ house, and my hubby went out shopping - my mother said, cutting something I could not identify what it was. - Those are the Petersons, Ems. They are our new neighbors.
- Thank you for the cake - said Julia - Now let's go. It was a pleasure to meet you.
- I'll take you to the door - my mother said – Let’s Emily, so we guarantee that they will return to visit us.
- Do you have to sleep? - Mathew asked as we got to the door.
- No, I’ll still listen to a little bit of music.
- Don’t you want to stay out here for a while talking? Breathing a little fresh air? It's just that I'm new here and I still have no friends. And it's very boring to stay home alone.
- Of course she accepts - said my mother, practically throwing me out the door - She loves to breathe clean air.
Mrs. Julia crossed the street saying goodbye with words "bye" and "See you later.'' I felt my mother got back inside because her footsteps moved away and I took a few steps a little more forward and leaned against the wall that separated the garden of my house from the sidewalk. I loved to be there, wherever it was possible, the garden of my house had a huge variety of flowers. I spent hours trying to memorize the aroma of each.
- I’m sorry for today - Mathew started saying - I didn’t mean to be rude, I just didn’t realize that you were...
- ... Blind - I completed - I know. It always happens. It's normal I bother people when they direct the hand to greet me and I just ignore them, as if I were seeing.
- No, not that - he kept saying - I just thought you didn’t get along with me.
- Never mind - I said trying to be friendly with that nice beginner owner of such a delicious voice - let's start over, okay?
- Well – he said starting from scratch - My name is Matthew, I'm 21 years old and I am a cancer. I like feijoada, I love eating chocolate and I only take shower with hot water. Now it’s your turn.
Damn, I thought, it was too good to be true. He's practically a child. Two years younger than me. 21? Where am I going with this baby? He should still be the kind who asks his mother to put the food on the plate, leaves a wet towel on the bed, and even worse, leaves the toilet seat up. Not to mention the activities that he should enjoy doing. 21? Yeah, his voice is beautiful, but I’ll have to cut from my list of possibilities. Not a chance.
I opened my mouth and began to speak my specifications.
- My name is Emily, I'm 23, I also love chocolate and I have no problem taking a shower with cold water. I'm blind from birth, but at age six I had surgery and I was able to see again, but then I became blind again. I am also a history teacher.
- Are you blind from birth? - He asked astonished.
- Yes, but like I said, I saw for a while. When I was six years old I had surgery. But months later I’ve gone blind again. My parents wanted to try again, but since I started to have a say in my life, I decided I didn’t want to try. I'm used to the darkness that surrounds me.
- But don’t you want to be able to see again?
- And who said I can’t see? I see more than most people out there. I see more than a lot of little smart guys who think only the eyes can see. I see with something much more important, something much stronger. With the soul and the heart. Today I don’t miss seeing the light that much, because I already have the light inside me. It guides me and helps me. Of course sometimes I fumble myself a bit, especially before, when I began to walk with Adolfo.
- Who is Adolfo? - He interrupted me promptly - Your boyfriend?
- No, - I replied laughing shamelessly - Adolfo is the Labrador you met in the afternoon with me at the park. As I was saying, at the beginning I had some problems with Adolfo. He had a terrible problem with cats and it was difficult for me to have the same enthusiasm as him to chase cats we met on the streets.
Once he dropped me on the sidewalk because he didn’t resist the sight of a cat crossing the avenue. I did nothing. I had to wait until he returned. Some children helped me up and I was there waiting. After forty-five minutes, he returned and began to rub my legs, like who's apologizing for having thrown me. After that my father took him to a little school, where they tried to defuse the story with cats and leave him more professional. My knees feel that fall up to today.
- So you don’t have a boyfriend?
- I’m talking about Adolfo knocking me on the sidewalk and the only part that you understand is that I don’t have a boyfriend? - I laughed, finding the situation funny. But he also laughed nervously because it was very likely that this boy was willing to play with me as well as many others had tried before.
He apologized for being raunchy and continued to talk a little about him.
We spent about one hour talking. We laughed a little and distracted ourselves. It looks like I had gotten a new friend. He seemed nice, and also seemed to be pretty. At least his voice was. I thought about asking how he was, touch his face and in order to record in my mind a memory of his face. But I thought this might seem too intimate. I don’t like touching the face of anyone on the first date, it is very intimate. And besides, he was 21 years old, completely out of my age group for future kisses attempts.
- How was it? - My mother came asking just when I got home - Honey, what did you think about him?
- What do you mean, mom? - I asked pretending to not understand–What are you talking about?
- The fox, the son of the neighbor. I noticed he was interested in you.
- Fox? What kind of language is this, mother?
- Oh honey, the boy is beautiful. He is tall, has straight hair and stubble that leaves any young girl crazy. Not to mention those brown eyes like honey, so deep. Oh, if I was younger and single. That your father doesn’t listen to me.
- MOTHER! - I complained about her comments - What is it? He's practically a child. He is 21 years old.
- Child? Since when 21 years is to be a child, honey?
- I am 23 years old. I am older than him. I'm also blind.
- Don’t give me that excuse of blindness or this talk that he is a child. Oh, how I wanted to touch that little face and feel that beard.
My mother was impossible. Her comments were having some kind of effect on me. I began to search my mind for a puzzle of eyes, noses, beards, faces that could form and assemble something similar to what she was describing. I think this serves to kill the curiosity of many people. I bet you are wondering: what would a blind person think? We think just like the people who are not blind, we dream like anyone else. The difference is that for me things come in sensations, scents, and touches. Someone once asked me if dreamed. What do you think I do when I sleep? I answered.
Now his smell was ingrained in my memory, especially after the flood of information that my mother threw at me.
I went to sleep with all that my mother had said. I lay earlier. Jason had not even gotten home. He was with his invisible girlfriends. My father had just arrived and I was with my mother in the living room, watching soap operas or not watching it at all.
The next day when I returned from work, I was visited by Mathew in my house. It was about 15h when he knocked on the door, asking me to go out to have an ice cream. For a moment I thought about accepting, but then I remembered the age difference, that was a crucial thing to a relationship in my life and I decided to give him a no.
On another occasion I would have accepted, but after all that my mother had said the previous day about him showing some interest or something like that, I found worthier to give no hope. If we were supposed to be friends it would happen, but it would be just that, a simple friendship.
He left, which didn’t prevent him from appearing there at night, and the next day, and the next day. Always with the excuse that he still didn’t know anyone and was looking to make new friends. In one of his visits he said he only wanted company to know the city. I thought it was strange to want the company of a blind person to present something to him.
- Well, Mathew, here is the square, that smell that you feel are the red roses being kissed by hummingbirds.
Will that be the kind of presentation I would have to do? I guess that would not work very well, even because my town had no big thing to know.
I think he must have gone to my house the following seven days straight, and it was already being hard for me to think of an excuse to give a new no to his invitations for going out. We still spent some time talking at the door, or near the sidewalk, but I always remembered the words of my mother about the sudden interest of that young man so nice, and then I tried to be strong and invent a reason to get back home. It was nice, very nice by the way. But I didn’t want involvement with a brat, and it was starting to seem impossible to get away from him, since he always managed to show up at my door with a different excuse every day.
Also, whenever I returned to the house I had to be received by the morbid curiosity of my mother, who anxiously already came with those old questions: "So?", "How was it?", "Are you going out?" In addition, of course, all the compliments she made to the spectacular beauty of the young man, I confess, managed to make me even more curious about him. I just walked past her, giving no more attention when she spoke every single day and went up to my room. That day had been full, I had been teaching, walked with Adolfo again in the park, since lately I avoided going out to not find him "accidentally" and the visit from Mathew ended up leaving me tired.
I fell asleep easily. Waking up so early, exercising myself with Adolfo and still receiving the flood of information from my mother wanting to get me a boyfriend, sure helped to get me more and more tired. I dreamed a peculiar smell. That masculine scent that made me laugh and took me for many places I had never gone before. A voice lulled me, made me turn, dance, sing. The morning flew by and gradually I felt that the dream and reality were approaching each other, turning into one. It was already six in the morning. I should already be wake and I started waking up smelling a very pleasant scent inside of my room. I thought I was still sleeping, until I flip up my arm on the bed and felt that had hit something. Something soft, with a package and a very unique scent. I was waking up and pulling close to me what was in my bed. I used the touch to find out what it was, which was not so hard. It was a bouquet of flowers. I felt the packaging and roses that I could touch and smell. And that smell? It wasn’t the smell of roses. It was his smell! Those flowers were dipped in his perfume. I tried to pinch myself to know what was going on, if I was still dreaming, but I wasn’t, it was real. There was a bouquet of flowers on my bed and smell of his perfume was scattered all over my room.
On my way to school I didn’t say a word to my father. I put one of the roses in my purse, next to my glasses, and I left the other in bed. During class I had my head in the clouds and to not prejudice my students, I chose to give an activity based on subjects already presented in class. I asked them to do a summary and give opinion on any of the subjects studied that semester. As always, my mother would help me with the corrections when I got home. I was feeling different, but I couldn’t explain why. How could I feel anything for that stranger? I think it was just the thrill of waking up with such a lovely surprise. I had never received a bouquet of flowers that beautiful. And specially made for me. He put his scent on the roses. He knew I was blind, or better, visually impaired, and to not do something ordinary, he innovated by leaving his mark. Something that would make him unforgettable. Maybe it was just a way of saying hello. He shouldn’t have any hopes. After all, besides my blindness he was just a child. He was 21 and I was 23. I’d never involve myself with someone younger. Never.
On the way back, I ran into the sound of a very knowing smile, as my mother always picked me up after my class, and I realized that she wanted to talk, but I decided to not say anything. My mother was one of those who try to push a disabled daughter into the new world. She wanted to treat me as if I had no problem. In a way, it was thanks to that education that I could be so independent. I remember when Adolfo arrived. My father was careful, afraid of every step I took, and I couldn’t go outside alone until he would be sure that Adolf had actually learned how to get around the city with a deficient. How big is this word, deficient, I'd rather people call me blind, anyway.
But back to the subject, my mother wanted to tell me something but she didn’t want to be direct. She was trying to make me to ask. Surely she had been complicit in the history of the perfumed roses on my bed.
- So, my dear Ems. - She started trying to coerce me to speak - how was your morning?
- It was fine mother. The same old thing. I loved to see the happy little faces of my students in this warm morning - I spoke with a tone of irony, as it was usual, using words that would sound strange once spoken by a blind person.
- Stop with the irony, Ems. Don’t you want to tell me anything?
- Why don’t you ask at once, Mrs. Felipa?
- Oh, I can’t resist. What did you think of the flowers? Wasn’t it beautiful?
- I knew you were involved in this. Mother, no way. I met him just for a few days. I might even agree with a few kisses without commitment, but he's younger than me. And that’s not to mention that I should not be having this conversation with you. This is very peculiar to my head.