“Do you remember George?” he asked…
It was late November, 2005, and my plans had been set.
I would be in Rio for New Year’s Eve… and he had
Big Plans for the night.
As well, his studies were over, he had taken the Big Test back
in October, and although some relief had set in, the long wait
for results and his Captain’s License loomed ahead.
Remember George? I thought. Of course I remember George….
George and Angela! His long time friends in Ibicui, Angela with
her lessons in making…and drinking…Caipirinhas.
Ah, Caipirinhas, Brasil’s intoxicating drink, made from Cachaca
and fresh limes, (pronounced cashasa, a colorless liquor similar
to vodka and tequila, made from sugar cane) mashed to bring
out all those wonderful sparkling tangy flavors of pulp and peel,
with a touch of sugar, pounded over and over in mortar and
pestle, adding sugar, adding cachaca, pounding pounding,
until at last… ready! and strained over ice.
And it was the Best Cachaca…. I had bought the Brandy version
at the Cachaca Museum we’d visited the day before….
Wow, did we get ploughed that night!
“Remember him? of course I remember George…why ?”
“George was shot. He’s dead.”
The words hung in the air, from a long way off. I couldn’t wrap my
mind around the words… I couldn’t speak.
“He was shot by two guys on motorcycles. They just drove by and
shot him. It happened back in August, but no body told me,
probably because I would go and take care of it.”
“NO…..!!! No, oh No.” I was instantly sobbing, and the memories
flooded back, of the time we stayed with them, of the boys coming
back from the bar all silly and tumbling into the upstairs apartment
Angela with her big smile and warm heart.
George with his roaming eyes, as he met me, taking me in
top to bottom.
“Angela!….” …my heart leapt… “what about Angela?”
“Oh she’s somewhere staying with friends. She left ”
“Why? do you know why?”
“Oh…I guess he was doing something he shouldn’t be doing…”
I remembered sort of understanding that when the boys got
together and went off, there was more than beers and scotch
They both had a weakness for powders. Angela and I had stayed
home, and although neither spoke the other’s language, we laughed
and traded words, laughed some more over our accented attempts,
and those Caipirinhas definitely rounded out any differences,
Now I realized that one area where Alcir and George bonded was
their bandido-ness. When they were together, I saw the bad-boy
in each, paling around like school boys on a mission.
The next layer hit me. It had been our dream to move to Ibiqui,
this tiny ancient fishing village along the coast north of Rio.
Quiet, quaint, slow…. as we’d walked the cobblestone streets, Alcir
smiled at me, his big arms around me, warmed by the sun and salty
air, sounds of the little boats bobbing.
Slowly, he shook his head…
“Oh Babe….this is Us, Babe. We could get a little house an you
could sell your jewelry on a little cart on the beach.
I could make a big barbeque out of a barrel…I know how to do that…
an we could cook chicken outside in the yard, an sell it to the
tourists who come here on the weekends.
I could get a little boat….. we’d always have fish to eat.
I could sell the extras…”
Our beautiful dream, out of time, slow and easy, a time to just
be together and float for a while…. our dream was gone.
Alcir could never live in that town, never again, connected with
George the way he’d been.
It was gone to us. Ibicui was gone.