… a resume …

 

alcir joins the Foreign Legion, 1989

I found this Resume, while searching for him in 2004
It was written in Portuguese, and robot translated…

“Been born on 14/02/1958, former Rio de Janeiro pupil of the
Collegio Pedro II, former urban guerilla during periodo of the
dictatorship, exiled em 1979, having lived in 5 paises, and
transited by others the 43 in all continents.

Having worked as Fishing of Ouricos of Mar (Professional Diver)
of the coast north of the State of California.
He ties the Alaska, where I lived per 4 years having worked
there tambien as Fishing of King Crab, that and considered the
profession most dangerous of the world,
And having served per 5 years in the French Foreign Legion, in
the Duzieme Regiment  Etrangere de Parachoutists of where I
gave low with apos metals  of bravery to have passed for tres
great conflicts, as:
Chad, Djbouty, and finally in the Gulf War Desert Storm.
Eximio sailor, having crossed the horn four times, two times
being aground.

The unica reason pra that I bring everything this tone, and so
that can subsidize what I believe gives a success, my book of
memories that would like to see published, as much how much
the remain of my tedious workmanship would literaria.
None ties the moment, but I wait to revert this picture how
much before.

In the truth, I have dues letters and an article on fishes of
ouricos of the sea, and the Exon Valdez, published in the
periodical San Francisco Chronical.
I Wait Contacts…”

………….Alcir

… the discovery …

The story that Alcir told me, of how he discovered Who he was,
discovered that he was First and Foremost a loner and a diver…
is actually heartbreaking, yet beautiful too.

“My inner self started when I was 6 years old, and I was drowning
in high seas.   My father trew me in the wader, he watch me as
I tried to stay up, my arms an’ legs grabbing.

I wen’ down, and didn’t come up.  I Loved it.  I went down to the
bottom, and sat in the mud for a long time…. maybe four minutes.
Suddenly I appeared up, with a big smile, and I discovered my life.
All I wanted was to dive.
I discovered who I was…. a loner and a diver. I didn’t need anyone
else to help me, or to tell me who I was.
And that is when I started fighting it.
They…my parents… could never understand why I refused to use
my intelligence, which they said I had.
Two times I broke the world record for deep sea diving.
I went over 75 meters down…
I don’t care that it was not recorded.  I know who I am. “

 I remember he told me once that he went down … i don’t know…
200 feet or something crazy.  When he came back up, the
other guys didn’t believe that he’d gone down all the way to
the sea floor, so he went back down, following the anchor chain,
and brought up some sand from the bottom, just to prove
that he did.  This was a Free Dive.

He claimed he could stay down for many minutes… four or five…
and frankly I doubted his story.  I mean, impossible, right?
Then much later, I saw some nature program, where it talked
about how some people have this rare genetic ability …
and can, indeed, hold their breath for many minutes, and also
endure deep dives.  I had no idea.

“All I wan’ to do is make myself happy.  Society wans people who
wan’ to impress society.  I’m not a monkey… I’m not a circus animal,
that lives to amuse people… I jus’ wanna live my life.”

He got a medal for bravery.  It was in Desert Storm I think.
He carried a buddy on his back to safety, but he was already dead.

“He took 6 or 7 bullets for me”, he told me “but he was already dead.
Actually, he shielded me, but that was not why I carried him.
I never thought of that, I only thought of getting him out of there”

Another war story in Desert Storm… he was sleeping in his tent,
and in the middle of the night, he got up to take a piss… he heard
an explosion.
He looked back, and NO TENT…

He’s been shot 11 times, stabbed 4 times, and something happened
to his face.
“I know,” I told him. ” I can’t believe you’re still alive.  I’m amazed.”

“If You are…imagine me?”  His eyes grew dark and clouded over.
Still, his gaze was intent, as he looked deeply into me, knowing
he was sharing things hidden so deeply within his heart.

“When I am at war, I do not see them as human beings…no…
as a target; I have a perfect concept that they feel the same for me.”

“I don’ wanna die,  I don’ know why.  I don’ care about life or death, but …
somehow, I don’ wanna die”

He told me so many things about himself that night.  My heart is
heavy with the realizations of his youthful pain.  He said at six,
his mother told him he wouldn’t live til he was eight, and every
year she renewed her predictions.

“Why?” I asked.
“Because she didn’t like me.”

He was always in trouble, at home, at school.  And then came the
beatings.
Now today, I realize that he is ADHD.  And these people are usually
extremely intelligent, and in those days they were completely
misunderstood.

And the father story… a life of beatings.  With the belt, with a
piece of wood, with whatever he had in his hand at the time….
…even kicking him, and when he fell to the ground and curled up
in a ball, well then he’d kick him some more.
They both took great pleasure in punishing him in front of others.
Strange, how such terrible deep scarring can direct someone to
such drive, such accomplishment.
I’ve felt for some time that all of this was about proving himself
as a man.  But not to be loved, not to be liked by others.
And he was never accepted or shown love by either parent.

No, it was something deeper.  Proving to Himself that he was
what he Knew himself to be……  Extraordinary.

—————————————————————-

It’s now Thursday, five days into my visit to Rio, to Alcir,
and we’re home, and he’s drinking.  I have never known
anyone who can drink like he can, and yes I know it’s a
bad sign, and yes I know Brasilians drink more beer than
any other country, and yes in that tropical heat, that half
frozen freezer stored refreshment cannot be beat, but…

This man has such high tolerance to everything, since
maybe birth, and so it’s a gift and a curse.  I have seen
him put away liter after liter, go to the store, buy eight
more, I drink one, he drinks the rest, and while he’s out
he’s done shots of Scotch at the local garage bar.

Yes, along those winding urban streets there are countless
bars in garages, little gatherings of men sitting on cheap
plastic chairs, smoking and bullshitting.  It’s a part of
Brasilian culture, the men just go out at night and drink.

So Thursday he drinks, we cuddle, he asks me not to
let him go, and then sneaks out when I fall asleep.
Friday there’s the usual hangovers, denials, and Mr
Bad Mood.  Sullen isolated shit head.
We go grocery shopping at the giant Mercado that we
usually walk to, sometimes holding hands, but this day
he drives us, because his elderly Aunt Maria needs to
go too.  He goes to a chair at one of the little mall stops,
and Maria and I go in with our separate carts and get
what we need.  She is not a happy person in general,
but when neither speaks the other’s language, it’s pretty
lonely.  She cooks, and I can’t even ask her about
ingredients or where something is.  And he’s back in the
mall drinking beer, and beginning to refer to
us as “you people”.    This does not bode well.

I’d so looked forward to getting out and shopping for
things, finding new fruits and vegetables, people watching,
and now he’s just mean and doesn’t want to be there.

When I’m in line, which is always endless… I mean, take
a book or some playing cards when you shop here…
he comes by long enough to load the cart up with beer,
and a big Scotch.  Oh, and I’m buying.
Of course I’m buying… I’m a rich American and I’ve
intruded upon his space, and I will pay.

Maria and I are now pretty much the same, in his eyes.
Irritating women who want something from him.
Never fall in love with a man who hates his Mother.

 

_____________________________________

… not even a week ….

…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.”

…the waiting begins…

After we hung up the phone, I lay in trance momentarily, to come back into my body once more, left for what seemed like an eternity.  Where I had been had no relation to where my corporeal self floated, and there were other people out there in my living room.  Gather it together…..

My good friend D was looking super casual and uninterested… His suit of armor, worn habitually and defensively.  He and I had a long history which included much intimacy, yet he was one of those terrified of real intimacy, real love, and so a show of emotion was forbidden.  Even curiosity meant he might care, and that was one thing he didn’t want to do or show.  That was saved for the few he couldn’t reel in.

The classic Fear of Intimacy embodiment, and I must say I Wondered, as in Being in Wonder, at the Universe and Her sense of timing and humor, for D seldom came out and stayed with me, lovers or not, and to have Alcir call from Brasil on this day was pure and Brilliant Orchestration.

I re-entered my world, and shared a few of the best parts…. The Legion, of course…. And I remember his reaction at the poetry of his words:

“I Love You….and I always Deeed…. And I would not wan’ you to think something different.”  I said it with my best Brasilian accent.  When I got to:

“I’ve never forgotten….. It is not often that a man can find Peace…”,  D feigned falling backwards, stabbing himself in the heart. He absolutely Got it, and it was a most satisfying moment.   To make even more of this magical thing was something I could never have imagined, or even ask for.
D was such an enigma in my life, and for more years than I could have figured, and this was the whipped cream with a cherry on top, of an already overwhelmingly intoxicating dessert.

Many years passed, many phases gone through, so much belief  in that first year, that he would return to me.  I visualized being down at the wharf in a crowd…. smokey scene at the bar, some country western song playing, me behind my second pint, when there… across the room… that face… the voice… eyes locking on mine….

Or how ‘bout walking down Main Street midday, and suddenly from my right, a whistle…. Glance across the street… pause in mid glance… No…. Yes…. What?…. Blurrr……You get the idea.  It was always a movie with him, and by now I’m sure you understand why the movie romance fantasies lingered.  The magic in the timings, the comings and goings of him, of us.         It was an encounter unlike any other… Iconic characters in a dance through time.

To this day, I know we will be together again, although I have let go of even the possibility of continuation in this life.  It will be another, and perhaps then we will have our timing just a little more on spot.  But the magnetic pull lingers, like the taste of bitter coffee, the cream coating tongue for the creamy softening, and to hold it there just a while longer.

By the time he had left the first time, the time when he sat in his truck and we stared so long… by that time I was catching every nuance in music I heard, learning about the role Brasil had played in World Beat and Jazz… falling in love with Djavan, Luis Bonfa, Nascimento, and of course Jobim.

Antonio Carlos Jobim, the untouchable, the delight of Brasil.  They named their International Airport for him.  The author of so many classics that have been heard for more than half a century… ones you would recognize after one phrase,  after three notes, ones heard in elevators, and frequently  background music even now, when the movie gets romantic and sexy.

He, Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto INVENTED the Bossa Nova back in the fifties.

So I was on a mission.  Grok Brasil.  Because I had never met a Brasilian before, and it wasn’t just about Him…. There was a wild and fierce spirit there that I knew I had to understand, because Brasil was something quite different from the world I’d known.  I added the fantasy of someday visiting Brasil, and being shown it by Him.
When we had said Goodbye on that telephone line, our Last words were:
“Maybe I’ll see you in Rio…my Crazy Brasilian!”……… and he answered:
“Maybe I’ll see you in the States, my Looney American!”

There were moments where I felt I was Getting It.  The Music of course was a big one.  When I was in the Brasilian Music Trance, I was touching him, feeling his core self.  My kids got so, whenever Brasilian music came on, they called it “Mom Music”.

But then things would happen…. Like when I was waitressing at a local place, where the Gualala River meets the Sea, with a wonderful view and interesting people.
I met people visiting the famous NorCal Coast, and the notorious Hwy 1, from all over the world.

And the staff always sent me out to deal with the tables full of ‘foreigners’.

I seemed to understand them more easily, as accents didn’t throw me, and sometimes I’d play with them, shooting the accents back.  It was fun, and part of the theater of waiting tables.

I went out to a table of three, up and out of the way in the back, two men and a woman, and quickly realized I was waiting on Brasilians  !!!  oh I was so excited!

The sound of that accent sent me into apoplectic bliss…  They were fun, playful, hilarious, and taught me how to order Beer in Brasil.

Later I realized they had the Carioca dialect…. That’s the name they call Brasilians from Rio …. Cariocas.  And so, there I was, practicing                              “Dois Mais Cervezas, por favor” with my new friends…
“…for when you visit Rio”… they told me.
Turns out, this is a Basic Survival Skill…. Brasil drinks more beer than Any Other Country…!  Ha!

An important part of Rio Portuguese, Carioca, is that you put sssshhhhh sounds in everywhere you can…. Doish maish cerveshas, pooor favooor …. Such a sensual and sexy language, that goes with the people… but in Rio they dial it up just a bit more, your tongue almost Tasting the sounds.

When they were leaving, they threw me a compliment that stayed with me always….

“We’ve beeen eeen the US… (they never say America…as Alcir said, We’re America too..)  “We’ve been in the US for seven months, and you’re the First person we’ve met who is Like a Brasilian!”

Couldn’t get any better than that….
I must be making progress in my quest…

 

 

…awakening…

The phone rang.  Busy making dinner, Lily answered for me, while I obliviously continued my quest for dinner.

“Mom!  some lady’s on the phone, and she says she has a Collect Call from Brasil…”…she shrugged…

Oh great, I thought.  Some friend of mine is messing with me… they’re so sick of hearing about Mr Brasil, and now they’re giving me grief….

“Here hon, give it to me…”  (damn…)… “Hello?….”

“Halllooo?  Yez, iee haf a collect call from Alcir…  yooo doo not know sumone named Alcir?” came the dusky,  accent laden voice.

“Uh………yeeessss….. I slowly pulled from my mouth, while brain went into permafreeze…. silent moments passed…..

“Hallloooo?  Eeeeez Theeees Reeely Yooo?”  came that old familiar dark deep voice, that voice that seemed to go right to my nether regions…

I took a deep breath, and in my confusion, suddenly everything stopped.  I had a house guest… one of my absolute favorite friends, playmates, collaborator,  D I shall call him, and he and his buddy were up from the Bay Area to find large driftwood for his new store in the city… and dinner, D, Lily, time…. all became temporarily irrelevant.

“Yessss..???” which ended in a question, because there was no where else for me to go with this.  I hadn’t seen or heard from him in Two years, and frankly, knowing him as I did, I found myself at times wondering if he was even alive.

Oddly enough, I had just gotten a Card back, return to sender, no such animal, that I had sent to Tahoe weeks ago, in desperation.  My mind had been plagued with terrible wondering, I couldn’t stop thinking of him, and I had written something simple, direct inside:
“Come Back….. At Least let me know you are Alive”… It had a tender print of Isis holding a wounded Osiris on the front.  I still have it.
Weeks had passed, and then there it was in the mail…  oh no… I may never know…
That was but Days ago… and Now…?  how can this be??  I excused myself to the pantry.  I needed isolation, focus, clarity, a brain please.   Shake brain like Snow Globe…. let dust settle….

“Where Are you?” I semi stammered.

“In Brasil… tonight there hass been many celebrations, with many friends and family from long ago …I Had to come back.  Eeeets my contree…” he trailed off.

Long ago, he had left Brasil, run actually, from an inevitable jail sentence, perhaps death… and his Grandfather had given him money… he’d bought a 30 foot boat, and sailed away, alone, around the Horn all by himself… he was maybe 20…
“I was a Revolutionary.  I robbed banks to finance the Revolution.  An’ then a coople of peeeple got Keeeeled, an I had to leeeef.”
That was over ten years ago, ten years he’d spent in Norway, Hawaii, and finally,  and mostly, the West Coast.  He’d acclimated quickly, Loved it.

“What … where ..have …you been?…”…( so he just Got there? tonite?)…

“I waz een the French Foreign Legion” he told me.   OK… another brain freeze.

“What??? what was it like?”

“Hell…  Eeeet waz Hell. But I got out, an came back.  ”

“What …. like what do you mean?”

“oh…. like walking for twenty miles with a hundred pounds on yer back, an eeef you fall down, they Keeeek you…”

“How did you get out?” I asked, for I’d seen enough about the Legion to know that once you join, you give up all rights, all contracts, all everything, for Seven Years.  How could this man…?”

“Oh… they deedn’t know whaat too doo weeth me for a while… All three of them had mee in a rooom for a few hours…”  He referred to his double citizenship… Brasil, US (he’d been born in Honolulu while his parents were traveling) and I guess France and the Legion.   I fantasized him escaping, running through the jungle, dodging bullets… big grin on his face…

“I Love You” he breathed softly…

“What..?” I squeeked, breath gone.  He’d never said that, ever.
Once I had said that to him, in the midst of love, and he busted out
“Nooooo, don’ sayee thaaat.   Why, because we have good orgasms?  Nooo…don’ saayee thaat.”  It was like an allergic reaction…

“Could you say that again please…Words, I want to hear words…” I coughed.

“I Love You…. an I Alwaays Deeeed, an I woould not wan you to theeeenk somtheeen deeferent.”

Breathe, Carol, breathe.

“I’ve never forgotten”

“..and I’ve never forgotten…”…

We stood there… half a world apart… and it was alive, still alive.  I didn’t care how much it was costing, how long, nothing…

“I’m sorry for calling collect,” he said…”I’ll make it up to you when I see you.”
My knees went weak.  By now I was lying on the bare floor of that narrow pantry, staring up unseeing, at shelves of canned beans and pasta.

 

 

…his old jacket…

One afternoon, he decided to pull out the old Legionnaires’ uniform, and here he is looking pleased with himself… after 18 years, he can still Almost button it closed… double click to enlarge the brat.   This was 2006 in Rio.

I’m anticipating going through my storage soon, finding my old journals, and beginning to review the days when I was seeing Alcir.  It’s not all pleasure, be assured, for I will likely never see him again, and in some ways that chapter of my life is closed forever.  Stirring the memories is stirring the emotions, and they run deep and technicolor vivid.

As a being, he is etched upon my brain pans, like one of those movies you see over and over through the years, always creating the sensory overload, the tastes and smells, the cocktail chemistry, the brain bath rushing over skin, through veins, visions of sugar plum fantasies with someone who came so close to being a perfect match, yet membraned apart just enough to never quite get there.  There were moments, flashes of paradise…

Heart breakingly almost, tantalizingly dancing just out of reach, touching in and running away.  Begging for help, longing for true love, believing in conjoined souls, and terrified of love, that was he.