The other side of the coin

segurofuneralI understand this ongoing subject of designing our house on Paris Mountain brings out the worst in me, but nothing prepared me for the wave of hatred with which I uttered the guttural cry and attacked Alan with the claws of the beast. The thing boiled out of control when he criticized for the umpteenth time the site plan that should be presented to the Greenville County — where we were pursuing a variance on the mandatory setback that would facilitate construction, given the steep incline on our beautiful lot. Frankly, it looked like a scene from “The Exorcist,” only missing the corresponding green vomit.

The next day, when he realized that I had sent my plan version instead of the one he wanted, the scene was repeated without amendment.

Another day has passed, and I had my work cut out seeking greater control of my emotional reactions — if it continued like that, there would be no couple to enjoy the new home; we would certainly kill each other before we reached the roof. On top of all, on a visit to the bathroom, I noticed traces of blood.

What the heck! Now what?

All right. I shouldn’t disclose such intimacies, but, you see, having entered menopause about seven years ago, the event was very unexpected, not to say alarming. What amazed me even more was my disquieting reaction. Searching on Google in the dead of night a possible reason for this body’s surprise, all I could find, of course, were the worst explanations. It was cancer of the uterus, for sure. In women’s forums, such little suspicions in the form of red droplets — kind of watery, more pink than red, I must say — were morphed immediately into emergency surgery, without any doubt or hesitation; I, of course, panicked on the spot, already envisioning my body cut in shreds on the operating table.

However, I intimately decided I wouldn’t do a thing, would keep silent, wouldn’t mention anything to Alan. After all, this would be the best way to avoid unwanted medical interference, all is cancer nowadays and nobody has the right to voluntarily escape the terrible treatment.

That’s right. I decided that I would rather die quietly than exploring painful attempts at healing, with the concomitant loss of dignity. I was tired beyond belief. Life seemed not to have that much to offer. I felt alone, uncertain of Alan’s permanence and even less certain of the love of my children, recently acquired. The prospect of grandchildren was quite far away, as what was left of my family, eight thousand miles by plane, and dwindling phone calls of which I can’t even complain, after all it was I who decided to emigrate. Besides, I couldn’t see any sign of progress concerning the new house. I would probably live for the abbreviated rest of my life in this cramped little apartment without a view. Fight for what?

The comic relief was receiving in the mail, during this crucial week, a proposal for funeral insurance, caramba, how was I picked for this kind offer? Did someone find my name on some data registry and discovered I’m 63 and it’s time to die? Or perhaps to lose a husband?

My depression scared me more than the possibility of cancer. But, of course, I couldn’t resist telling it all to Alan, when, on the second day, instead of a drop there were three.

My husband wasn’t disturbed at all, on the contrary, he went to Google (he’s a specialist in online searches, the best I’ve ever met, there must be something good about him, right?) and got a lot more palatable results, such as describing this late bleeding as a result of stress:

“You can’t say that your plate is not overflowing,” he said (in better English, of course, “You’ve got too much on your plate”).

It is true. I waited another day, and the red became rosy again. Meanwhile, I tried pumping some adrenaline into my brain, to put my head in a better place, forcing myself to walk every day in the beautiful park close to our home.

Then it was over.

In retrospect, it was kind of weird, that’s fine, but what occurred to me was, nothing more, nothing less, than a period (very) out of season, with PMS and everything! Things like that must happen all the time, although few people share this kind of incident in networks, we go for the malignancy, pushing the gravest of prognoses.

Which brings me to the second part of this chronicle, written after a terrible month for the history of humanity, an April more like August (in Brazil the month of disgust): a plane crash conducted by a crazy pilot, the threat of a bad nuclear agreement with Iran, bloody conflicts in Yemen, a “previously paid” refugee shipwreck in the Mediterranean, a catastrophic earthquake in Nepal, a Brazilian citizen executed in Indonesia; here in this hemisphere, the street riots in black communities in Baltimore, repeating similar events that occurred very recently, always involving violent deaths, white cops and black suspects, and the cherry on top, the California of our dreams turning into a desert — to list only what I remember, there is no mind capable of processing so much painful news. And I did not mention the terrible crisis in my beloved Brazil, where morale plummeted to rock bottom in every way.

What a misery! What was happening to the world? Have we finally lost it?

That’s right, poverty exists, the pain persists, a large part of humanity, depending on the karma of the place where they were born, spend their life in suffering, but, wait, would this be all we take from life, what we witness in the news on the Internet and on TV? Where did all the good things go? Art, beauty, leisure? Love? Even the habit of traveling has suffered a hard setback, it’s all so threatening out there, we can’t cheer up, the simple decision to leave home for a walk being too hard to bear. I don’t know, but I venture to say that there is an ongoing orchestration to make us depressed, an entire race to depend on meds to find some grace to live by.

Understand; I don’t want to make fun of those who suffer in any way. I wish I could do something besides writing to mitigate people’s suffering, but I’m not doing so well myself, as I already mentioned. Rather than enjoying the position I’ve reached with no little effort, I’ve been deciding unconsciously to limit my life to a marital fight and to feel seriously ill, I even decided recently to abandon the will to live beyond a 100, and do everything in my power to attain it. I stopped. I quit. All I can think of is my own death, or my companion’s, I can’t make up my mind if it’s me or him who is going first, if he is going to finally leave me sad and alone in this life of misery.

One of the things that bothers me the most, and appears as one of the most serious symptoms of this depressing threat to the human race is the issue of racism in the United States. Okay, this is a country where blacks were once hanged from trees due to a simple, inadvertent look, not to mention the shame of a prolonged African slavery. But, honestly, I don’t see in real life that this country is currently racist. Think, you even elected a black president, chosen in 2008 by the vast majority of the population. What kind of racism would that be?

In my condo, which is pretty cool, despite my complaints to the contrary — having lived so many years in the middle of the woods and tropical animals, facing the majestic Maria Comprida, I got spoiled by beauty —, there is a high percentage of black residents, nicely dressed, with expensive cars, probably good jobs, I see no sign of discrimination anywhere. On TV there are frequent statements from black lawyers, well informed, well articulated, hundreds of Joaquins Barbosas successful in life. As to American poverty, let me tell you, it would be considered wealth in many countries in the rest of the world. The opportunity is there, apparently. What has been lacking, I believe, is the will, the willingness to struggle — and by struggle, I mean fight for oneself, for one’s own growth, not throwing bottles and rocks at the police and looting stores.

Even if one feels harassed, attacked and victimized at times, led to these feelings by some subtle inconspicuous agenda probably sponsored by malicious groups, in search of more power and money, let’s face it: black Americans are privileged, as are Americans in general, as a matter of fact, even those who are always protesting against something.

More than ever, we must value that old saying: big changes start within each of us That’s right. We must be strong, people.

Have a nice week!

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