Alcir visits a friend’s garden, finds herbs and flashes the grin….
This is on my first visit to Rio, seeing him after 18 years.
As I proof read these pages, I think to myself that no one will actually believe this is real. I know, it sounds like a movie. And I’m not even referring back to my journals right now, because somehow as I take it step by step, it all comes back in its most minute details, and I can hear his voice, and know exactly the words he chose, and when a word isn’t quite right, I just know it. That’s how deep the cut was…
Many years later, as we sat drinking ice cold beer in the little café bar with one side open to the wandering street, the cobblestone street, the one that winds up the hill to one of the oldest districts in Rio, the one that, as the story goes, that woman came down after the wild party, walking on her hands, to save the precious nectar inside her. Later she would produce a child who sprang from the loins of the king of Rock n Roll… Mick the man.
Yes indeedy, sprang from a party up that hill, in some luxurious mansion, and now whenever the Stones play Rio, he visits the kid at his exclusive school. And she? She now has a talk show, and is an edgy bitchy and rich celebrity with very stripey like a zebra, highlighted hair.
Anyways, so he’s telling me these tales of Rio and streets and the kids at his school, and it’s hot and steamy, and the beer is so cold it’s almost a slushy, and it feels like we could be anywhere right now. There are these darling young women sitting nearby, they have accents, obviously European, and now and then they glance at us and smile. Alcir of course thinks it’s because he’s so cute …. Soon they join us at the table, and they are tittering away with soft giggles, telling us that they are on a journey from Germany, and staying in Brasil for a couple weeks. They are intelligent, well educated, and speak very good English. We begin to answer their questions of who and why We are…..how an American comes to be here with a Brasilian in Rio, and I mention that it is all a movie, that it needs to Be a movie, and then of course, Alcir smiles and asks…
”So….. who weeell play Meee?” ……and we all laugh.
“Benicio del Toro” return the girls, and there is a pause… Alcir obviously approves, smiles, nods his head, and the chatter turns to travels and more stories.
That was his edgy side, the side those girls picked up on. The side that was more than a little dangerous, mysterious, thrilling and scarey…… and scarred. He loved danger. Craved it.
His family was an old aristocratic group that had pretty much lost it all. They lived in a multi level home, with rooms and shuttered windows, each staying away from the other, hate and disgust seething from every floor. The house was unkempt, and slowly melting away, but at one time exemplified class and grandeur.
A karmic layer cake, I used to call it.
When he was 14, he and his buddies used to steal cars and drive them to Uruguay to sell. He didn’t need the money, just the thrills, the bad boy thrills. His dad paid the tab at the local bar, but he needed more. Defiant, he was beaten continually as a child until he stood up one day at 15 and announced to his father that right now, if he laid a hand on him, he would beat the holy crap out of him. And he never touched him again, not physically anyway.
But cruelty ran in the group, a very convoluted history that went back generations.
His mother never wanted a child, tried to rid herself of this creature inside her that would ruin her life and her figure, was unsuccessful, and never stopped reminding him of that. Once while I was there, she came beating on his door at 6 am, screaming that she should have killed him then, she wished she had, and now she hated him, that he was ruining her life.
His grandmother had been his salvation….. his mother’s mother. She adored him, somehow instinctively understood him, and from the pictures I’ve seen, she was a very sad woman later in life. But absolutely Gorgeous as a young Indian woman. Haunting…And that is another chapter in itself, the story of the young Indian girl, and the man who waited and watched for two years, until her father gave permission for him to marry her…. that was one set of grandparents.
When she died, Alcir was the one to wash her body, dress her, and make her ready to be laid down. She had given him his haunting, dark slanting eyes, and his ferocious spirit, wild and untamable. She had loved him singularly, and was quite alone in her understanding.
See? That’s what I mean. So many facets to this man, so much anger and pain, so much tenderness and depth, so much beauty. It was a puzzlement that I had to unwind.