…on the road…

The days were speeding by, and soon it would be time to leave.

The near month had passed quickly, and her mind overflowed
with information……..her heart with feelings as yet unsorted.
The memories of what those last two weeks held tumbled
into view, as she anticipated leaving Brasil, and Him.

Soon after the daughter went home, and half their time together
had already passed, he took command and as Captain of the
little Gervel ship, deciding it was time for him to show her the
world out there, beyond the gates.
They packed and planned for a grand getaway into the hills
behind Rio, and he did his military thing, with a checklist,
and assigning her her duties.

One very amusing aspect of this trip was their musical choices…
She had brought some favorites from her now vast Brasil collection,
and chose carefully,  packing up a little zipper bag of her very best
ones.  For years, as she’d listened to so much music from Brasil, and
she’d wished he’d been there to translate….and  now…!

He, meanwhile, packed up His bag of favorites, and once in the car
and showing eachother what they’d each brought, they had quite
a laugh….
There She was with Jobim and Veloso and Nascimento, and
Here He was with Willy Nelson, Neil Young, Janis, the Stones,
Van Morrison, and Sade ….  funny stuff.

Well, at least they had a good selection, although facts were he didn’t
want to listen to Brasilian music at all…. overload perhaps….?
so they dined on the USA all the way.

His bitter disgust with Brasil in general had a lot to do with that,
but more so, she thought, it was his nostalgic love of the past times…
Ten years…… of living in the States.
He had issues with the politics, but he loved the freedom
and free thinking West Coast of California.
He actually envied her having been a hippie in the sixties… and
knew that if he’d been here, he would have been right beside her.
And she loved his taste in music, especially Neil and Sade…

Since she had seen little of Brasil, besides the freeways and this
quaint island in the middle of the Bay, she found it hard to imagine
what lay ahead, but his excitement overflowed onto her.
Ever the Adventurer, he would now be in his element.

The Gervel performed like a little jeep, and once they were on the
backroads of red clay and gravel and sometimes cobblestone,
sometimes stones,  they moved back in time, through layers of
this convoluted land.
There were times when the views from rainforest mountain
tops were completely 360,
…Nothing but forest in every direction.

Thrilling, mesmerizing, terrifying, waves of every feeling and
emotion passing over her through the hours and days they took
into the unknown.
They didn’t see another car for hours at a time.  Mostly Not…
They were truly into the wilderness, and with wild and treacherous
Still, she trusted him implicitly, and knew he would take care of
her, no matter the circumstances.

It seemed like every turn revealed yet another Waterfall, a
Cashoeira… such glorious beauty, with flocks of loud and colorful
birds scattering into the trees and across their views.

One day, it took Two Hours to go Two Miles.  It was a varying
combination of dirt, then large rocks mixed with deep ruts, then a
little patch of road of some sort, then rough gravel over old
cobblestones, then drop off to big rocks and ruts…. the little Gervel
performed like the trouper she was… climbing and plunging,
crawling and struggling, yet always proceeding onwards…
…Sort of like Him.

This was on what was called The King’s Road, and he told her that
this was where all the Gold in the country had been carried over
the mountains on the backs of slaves, eons ago.

“…and don’ you think one or two of them hid some gold somewhere,
when they stopped to pee?
Don’ you think some was dropped, when they fell down and
were being beaten ?
“Babe!  if we had a metal detector, we could come back up here
an hunt for gold!”

There were vistas breaking through of groups of the Pau d’Arco tree,
covered in brilliant pink flowers, a medicinal wonder whose bark is the
strongest detoxifier known, and used for thousands of years as an
anti oxidant, anti bacterial, fungal and virus cleanse.

Valleys and hillsides covered with a very special, now protected tree,
because it had been so ravaged by cutting and burning…
the Parana Pine, the Brasilian Pine… stately, elegant, beautiful,
and spreading plentifully across the vistas before them.

How to describe driving for hours through places that
No human, or anything related to Human, is visible, and then
suddenly coming upon the most incredible mansion, farm,
villa or vineyard, just there all by itself in the glory of
wide open varietal rain forest hillsides.

Passing by little villages, she saw  a cart being pulled
by a donkey,  people relaxing amongst the bundles.
Brown skinned families walked peacefully along the grassy paths,
and it could be that they had time traveled into another century.

One night they stayed in a small town, Santa Clara,  that had a
hoppin’ bar and some simple street life, an art gallery, although it
was probably all of a few hundred people total who lived there.
Little street vendor spots, where she bought herself a beaded
bracelet, in opalescent blues and lavenders.
They were like cute little hippies, young and smiling, loving
to say the two or three English words they knew, always looking
as though they were having the most wondrous time of their life.

The two of them got so Toasted….and notice that’s with a capital T….
Oh, Good Lord as he would say, beyond belief…
…so much so that when they’d had their fill of dancing and kissing and
running hilariously hand in hand, they jumped into the Gervel, and
suddenly realized they Couldn’t remember if the motel they’d found
was up the hill, or back down.

Taking the gamble, they headed up.  The little backroads went on
forever, it seemed…  and remembering all the little dirt roads, all the
turns… and it was all very spinny for her, and she wondered just how
on earth he was driving these little dirt roads to what seemed like
nowhere, with so many turns and so many choices to make….
back and forth, and it was crazy shit…and she would began to slightly
panic, as much as she could maintain any continuous state of mind,
with such an inebriated brain, whose thoughts changed every five
seconds, with all the laughter and singing going on.

He just trudged on, and wait….There….around the turn, Lights….!
Turning into the driveway now, where that beloved bed awaited, all
soft and inviting, their exhausted and confused bodies.

“How did you Do that?” she wondered at him, completely
Beyond Belief, over How the heck he’d they’d even landed …

“I have no idea…!”  he laughed….

His internal gyroscopic compass was working just fine somehow…..
Out they tumbled … quite literally… and fell upstairs to deep sleeps.

The next morning …..she realized she couldn’t find her shoes……..
And now….. where the heck was her bra…!
Very strange… what the what?…. where…?
They turned the room upside down, under the bed, along the walkway.
At last,  she trudged downstairs to the car, and …..
There they were!!!…in the car….!!!

Apparently she’d taken them off in all that hilarity, and had no
recollection whatsoever of having done such, with the top down and
their oblivious semi consciousnesses, trundling along blindly.

“It’s a wonder,” she thought, “that I didn’t throw them overboard,
the state I was in… !  That would have been interesting, cruising the
roads, trying to find my bra!”
“Excuse me sir, have you seen a green lace bra on your walk?”
….and they laughed all the way into their next delight….



…a watershed…

Friday, sometime early March 2005

Last nite was a watershed of story, as he poured the scotch
and poured his heart.
It started after he came home, after going out to get smoke, and
coming back two and a half hours later.  He goes to the favellas
to score, and although I worry about that, he tells me not to worry,
they know him, and he can take care of himself.  That I believe.

He’d run into friends, drank, coked, come home and looked into
her eyes, searching for anger.
She could not hide anything from him.  He always saw,  so this
time she truly said no, not anger, just adjusting to frequency.
It’s every 2 or 3 days…

“No… not every 2 or 3 days… no……. oh…………….yes….
I guess you’re so damned smart.
Just don’t be like the other ones, please.  Just understand me.
I will never lie to you, I will always be true to you, always,
I swear.  Can you handle me babe?”

She looked long into his eyes.  “I Think so…”

This night she desperately wished for a recorder. The things he told
her, the way they rolled from his tongue…how could she ever capture
a tenth of them…?

She told him her main concern with his drinking…
“Your drinking is your business…how it affects me is my business.
I’m concerned with your health, that’s what worries me.”

“When I die, they oughta cut out a few organs…burn the rest please…
but take some of me and study, because I am not a normal person.

“I have drunk and snorted and shot, and been shot, and I live.
I’m not normal.
I’m not going to live long, babe, and I’m not going to change.
I can stop, I have stopped if there is a reason.

“But I don’t wanna spend my life sober.  I’ve seen too much.
No, you’ll see me dead.
Just don’t bury me.  Burn me, throw me in the ocean.
A Viking burial would be nice.  But otherwise just burn me, please. ”
Water filled her eyes…..

“I’m not afraid to die.  I never have been .  You know what scares
me…the only thing?.  I’ve never told anyone this.
What scares me is dying without being called a man.
To be worthy of being called a man, that is the one thing.
Not to die one of the masses….. oh….”

“In the Legion, they had a name they called me…..”
(I know it, but I’m not sharing it right now, as I’m not
sure he’d be OK with that).
“Oh, I’m good…I never miss.  Never.  One shot to the head.
I took out a squad of 40.  I wait…I watch…watch for days,
I know their routine, I know how many and where.  Pow Pow…
I could take out 5 in about 14 seconds.  I was the Best.

“Once they found me, they chased me for 4 days in the desert…
140 degrees day, -35 at night.  I covered myself for some shade.
I drank my own piss.
“They called out my special name, “It’s ___we gotta get him!”,
and they chased me … a bunch of them…
It was 35 miles to the sea, Once I got there, there was a beeper
and I could be found.  But I had lost mine, and no one
knew where I was….”
Obviously he escaped and was found, but I never heard how.

As a child, he was always in trouble, always being punished,
and the parents seemed to enjoy it, and from his stories,
they were quite creative.

They laughed at him, and called him Tatubola… little Armadillo…
The parents had a new horse whip and were trying it out on him.
There were other family there, and they all laughed as his mother
whipped him, and he rolled into a ball, rolled all over the ground
and down the hill.
The others said the parents must know what they are doing,
they’re the parents.  Little Armadillo, rolled up in a ball.

“My father decided the belt wasn’t good enough.  So he turned the
buckle on me.  A man 6’2”, 190#…do you think he needed to use a
buckle on a child?  What a coward.  But I never cried.  Never.
I thought of what Tom would do (Sawyer), he wouldn’t cry.
No, it was not me who should cry.  It was them, they were the
ones who were not human, they should cry.

“Once, when my mother left him, in order to get her back, he tried
to impress her by taking me on the back of his bicycle, for a ride to
show what a good father, a good man he was.
He put me behind him, and we rode.

“My ankles rubbed against the wheels, rubbed them raw and bleeding.
And when he saw, he told me how stupid I was, and he beat me.
I’d ruined his beautiful fantasy picture.”

Turns out he was ADHD.  I know it.  Total Right brain.
Got in trouble in school every day.  He read voraciously, and
everything at school seemed stupid, he already knew it.
Typical of ADD brains, unusually bright and intelligent,
easily distracted, able to focus intensely, and on their own.

He read all the classics early on, filled his head with the heroes
of so many times and places.  All of them, the great books, he read.
History, Geography, but not math, not numbers.

“If you got a woman laughing, you’re gonna get some pussy… ”
he continued.
(She remembered the big swedish nurse who assisted in her last home
birth, the most perfect birth.  Smile Carol, big smile, she’d say.
An open smile means an open pussy…. see?  it was true!)

“You always made me laugh, you’re good at that,”  she purred…
“So you must have gotten a lot of pussy…”
“Oh Good Lord, you have no idea!”
He shook his head and grinned.

“You’re clean.  Your eyes are clean.
I want to rebuild myself from what’s inside you.
I planted something in you, back then.
I planted it, and it grew inside you, and 17 years later,
you come and find me.
Because you never forgot me, and I never forgot you.

“When I saw you, I saw your goodness.  I saw you’re clean.
I was not a nice person at that time.  But with you, I gave my best.
It was out of time, and I saw another way.  I drove 400 miles..
….do you know how many times?  Just to see you.
It was apart from my life.”

She had no idea of this.  All she knew was he was diving at the pier.
So it turns out he was driving from Tahoe each time?

He and his Tahoe girlfriend fought about her.  She had called that
day, when he’d been gone for so long, took that chance, and the
woman answered.
Later, the woman asked him, and he told her…
yes, I’ve met someone, and this is why I drive.

He told her his friend Mark was a good man, a good friend,
and he lost him as a friend forever, because he hit that woman in
this fight…”knocked her lights out”…and he knew he was wrong,
that was the only time he did that.
She asked him why he was untrue to her.
“She was not a good fuck.  She had become like a sister.
I left soon after I saw you”

“You know, they are offering me a job…. I can’t believe it…
$80,000 and I said no.  I couldn’t do it… I felt like a whore.
The Legion keeps asking me to come back, come back, we could
live in France, you would be my wife, we would live well.
I would be maybe a Sargent Chief.
And I would teach people how to kill.
But no, I can’t do it.  I said no, I want something else.”

“You wanna know the two saddest things?
A soldier without a war, and
and a Man without a job…
I know….. I’m both.”