…a total review of the heart…

It was time to look at the big picture once again.
There were feelings, but just what were they?
Was she delusionary?  Spell bound?  Captivated?
Caught up in her own fantasy world?

How Long this had gone on, certainly lent a large piece to
this pie, and she looked back in time, to the beginnings,
to the feelings, to who she was and who he was.

Certainly in the very beginning, he caught her off guard.
He possessed aspects and abilities that he’d obviously honed
all his life, and confidence gleamed off his flanks.

A good looking man learns early that he has advantages over
more ordinary ones, and the whole dance of seduction comes
so easily, and quickly offers rewards.

Yes, he easily got her attention, and they say… if the fellow gets
to show her his act, that means she is already interested.
But such confidence from such a young fellow, someone
she’d just met, who had just walked into her home, aroused
a certain caution in her, and rightfully so…
And yet, as the curiosity peaked, so did the
red flags start to fly…

Curious would be the key word here.  At first mildly, then
progressively more intently….and as he unfolded his kit of
charming tricks, she began to be fascinated.

Still, caution took the lead, and there was this gnawing fear
attached to the fascination, and she held him at arms length
for over a week, looking askance at him, checking him out
in a way that kept him from knowing that he was, and
How he was,  being measured.

When at last she decided to let him in, the terror turned to a
thrill of the unknown but with great promise, and … well…
he didn’t let her down.

He made her laugh all the time.  He told her tales of slaying
dragons and rescuing maidens… His accent was adorable, and
we all know how much American girls love accents.
And he was more than a little bit dangerous, mysterious.
The love making was other worldly, and for both.
She could tell.

Now this last part was just a continuation of her love of bad boys.
She had always been a good girl, so it was only a natural attraction.
Early Brando and James Dean films clued her in to what more
convoluted characters might bring to the
Very Interesting table.

She’d checked out enough good guys to know that a goodly
percentage of them were boring as shit, and frequently
control freaks as well.

This guy was so different on so many fronts, and she knew that
she’d not only have fun… she’d learn a bunch.
And believe it or not, this was, and always has been,
a big priority in her life.

Their time together was brief, limited, coming in dashes
and spurts (no pun intended, unless you’d prefer it that way)
and the adrenalin highs and seratonin bliss Moments
solidified, for her,  into attachment.

Once he was gone, and she knew he was Gone, things quieted
down, but he never quite left.  There was always this haunting
feeling that he could show up at any moment, and although this
had certainly been reinforced by past actions, it was also backed
up with that Call from Brasil two years after their last meeting.

Completely off the wall, Completely unexpected, and
a Completely Perfect movie.
The mere fact that he’d kept her card and number,
even after being in the Legion… in the Iraqi war…
…oh, actions, my darlings, actions…

His words in that conversation… “I’ve never forgotten”..
and……” a time of peace in a life of war”…
and for her, the sweetest and best of all ……..
“it is not often that a man can find peace.”

By then, It all was Ink, Deep Under Skin.

Still, 18 years passed in all, 16 since their last melding, and
when they actually began courting eachother via internet
and phone, it somehow just picked up where it had been left,
and somehow just intensified.
It was 2004, yet There it was…….still…

They actually talked…for hours.  Bodies no longer interfered with conversation… it was their only means, and they used it well.

Being there… in Brasil… feeling the trueness of not just
the Chemistry, but
the Mind Melds… ..music, movies, jokes, attitudes,
twists and turns of thought… it was all there and more.

Sleeping next to him was pure Peace.  No other word…peace.
She was stepping into it fully, looking at it fully….
And it held up under scrutiny.

And after a month with him, after lots of reality and moods,
tests and turns…
still he was growing on her, in her, with her.

There just came a point where this thing…right here…
was something so unique, so beloved, and
there was No Way she was going to pass it up.

As she reviewed the phases and stages they’d gone through
together, she came to the conclusion that this was Real.

She’d seen a great deal of him, inside and out, and still
She loved him … she really did…
and in new and altogether deeper ways.

The unfolding stories of his life…  touched her heart.
She understood him, not all, but a lot, enough to know that
he was something so unique, so brave and beautiful.
And she wanted to understand him completely.

Yet the newness of him, every day, not only amused her…
…it gave her great hope.  He was ready to grow, to change.

The move from Romantic love to Real love… for her anyway…
was a genuine and trackable progress, and no, she could not
doubt its validity now, no matter how confusing it became
at certain times, no matter how many times he …. perhaps…
…tested her….

Now realize, this was just inside of her.
She had no Real idea of what he was Really feeling.

Because of his mood swings…. and we’ll talk about those later…
she wondered how this man could span such a dichotomy
of reports… from brilliant reflection to romantic insight,
to the most vile and hateful rhetoric….

He was trying, that was evident.
And it was not effortless…
that was also evident.

But the words… how could anyone say the Words that he
came up with sometimes….  How…?
without their being Real…

She trusted and prayed that she could believe in his Love…
for the expression of his love for her was beyond this realm…
it had a certain mark of eternity.

 

 

…the return on the spiral…

The years passed as all years do…. Each a little quicker than the last,
and you begin to feel like life is that horse that turns homeward, with quickening strides, warm rewards and comfort awaiting the return.

The eighties were fun for me.  There was a certain joyous abandon,
more partying, less worry.  Money, although not quite like the sixties,
still was more readily available, and options appeared more frequently.
How much was the decade, and how much was me?  I’ll never know,
although certainly when you’re in your prime, things seem easier in
all regards.

I worked hard, six days a week, covered my bills, fed my kids, and
had a good time.

Still this certain person persistently appeared in my thoughts, and
often I was sure he was on his way, or even nearby, looking
for my face.

There were times I meditated on his spirit, like a Santera named
Juana had told me to do.  She was sure she had felt him, seen him,
and known his energies and whereabouts.

I would doubt her on many occasions, as I am want to do with any
psychic, but there were those times…. Like one day, as I arrived at
the San Fran store where I was working with my friend D, the one
on Haight that was known as the Weird Store…   And as I got out of
the car, there was Juana, and she told me that someone close to me
had died, and had visited her.  She said he was confused, but that she
did what she could to help him, and that he would be ok.

Interestingly enough, yes indeed, someone I knew Had just died
that week, a friend named Jimmy, who was the original drummer
for Steely Dan, and it was terribly sad in our little town, and for a
lot of people.
He had left suddenly, unexpectedly, and in an inebriated state, by
drowning.  I had heard that when a spirit leaves this way, inebriated
by alcohol, as in this case, or drugs of any kind, it is confused for a
while, trying to understand what has happened.
So yes, she did have abilities, or as my friend Sterling used to say…
”she had her toe in God’s puddle”……

When Alcir showed up in my home with no warning, it was 1986.
I actually had seen him once before, although I really didn’t realize
it til much later.
I had done one day’s work as a Tender on an Urchin Boat… it paid
well, and I thought I’d try it out.
Turned out it was a terrible day, only three boats went out, out of
a fleet of like 30 or more boats that frequented the little harbor at
the time of the great Urchin Rush, and the boat I was on was a
battered little dinosaur.
It was harrowing, scarey at times, and it convinced me that a Mother
and Artist shouldn’t risk life and limb on an Urchin Boat with some
of the craziest men on earth…. Urchin Divers.

But there was a moment before we left the harbor, when I saw this
fellow sitting crosslegged on the bow of a small boat, long dark hair,
and the biggest grin I’d ever seen.  He was completely blissed out,
in his element, and that foggy image stayed with me.
Later I recognized that grin, that bliss with the sea, that had kept well
in my mind’s eye.

Early in our time together, he laughed when he heard I had tried tending.

“Oh….!  Eeeet waz Yoo!” he exclaimed.  “Yes… Yoo were thaat
woooman who went out that day!  Oh, I Heerd about yooo!”

Little had I known I was semi famous, but I guess I was the only
woman who ever went out on an Urchin boat at that time.

He left in mid 87, and I never heard from him again….until 2 years
later, with that phone call from Rio, and the promise that he would
return to me, to the States, and to the life he had loved so well.
He absolutely adored the States, and the life he had dreamed of
since he was a boy, watching reruns of old TV programs.
He had told me he wanted to be a diver ever since he used to
watch Sea Hunt, with Lloyd Bridges.

And I had wanted a brave and wild boyfriend with brown skin,
dark hair and snapping eyes, ever since I fell in love with Sabu
the Elephant Boy, at the age of five.  He used to dive into the dark
rivers, knife in teeth, and wrestle with alligators.   He rode elephants,
and could call the jungle animals when he needed help.
Gotta be careful what you wish for.

By 91, I had had enough of the struggle to meet the demands of
living alone and supporting children, when rents were doubling
and options shrinking by halves.

I decided to venture out, and left the mainland for Kauai, where my
son lived in a large condo.

One of the reasons among many, was to get away from his memory,
and the expectations that had been set up by that call.  I looked for
him around every corner, and it was making me mad, as in crazy.

Problem was…. Once I was there, all I saw was guys who looked like
him.   He did look like an island boy…brown skin, swimmers’ body,
big grin, white teeth, snapping dark eyes and long brown Indian hair….
…and so that part of the equation didn’t work, but the rest did.

I loved kauai, and the life style, the warmth and the aloha spirit,
which is a real and tangible thing.  After Iniki hit… a force 5
Hurricane in 92… it was barely a year later that I returned to the
coast, for Hawaii would not bounce back quickly enough to make
a life happen there.

Where there had been work for me, a gallery for my art and so much abundance, was now in ruins.  Not a flower grew for six months!
The hills were brown.  Every building damaged, every vehicle
injured, and a year later, unemployment was running out, domestic
violence was up, and the local boys were pissed cause all the
reconstruction jobs went to mainland companies.  It was a tough
time, and when they kicked us all out of the condos to make repairs
and jack up the rents, it was time to leave.

The nineties were lovely.  Great small town, lots of performance
and art shows, tons of friends, and a happy home.  Dinner parties,
ufo discussion group, movie-thons… dandy stuff.  I even sang
the Star Spangled Banner at the fourth of  July parade.

When in 2002, I decided to move to Oregon to be near my two
older kids and their children, everything changed.
Oregon is not California in so many ways.
But that’s another chapter…or ten.

So one day, and it’s late 2004, I’m on the computer, as I often was.
I had been selling on ebay for a few years, improving my skills,
and thoroughly enjoying this ever expanding universe that had
appeared in my life.  So…you know how you Google someone’s
name, and start finding things pop up.  Back then it didn’t cost
you to find someone like it does now.

So….. google…. Alcir de Souza, with all the middle names in between.
Yep, remembered it all, every little name that had been laid on that boy.
When he had written it down for me, I had laughed….

“Wow….everybody got in on that one” I snickered.

I tried every version, leave out the T, leave out the other…add
back the y… and then something magic happened… I started
finding things… writing…. poetry….. in Portuguese, but when I
finally got one or two translated…. Oh shit….. There he was!!

He was writing on a site with lots of other writers, and it seemed
a mix of angry political ramblings, and pure heartful love poems.
And I gleaned more…. Women, of course, but also a daughter….!
Lots of pain and drama… confusion…. And so much anger.

I spent the next three days learning what I could from what
writings I could understand.  I had purchased a simple Learn
Portuguese thing, and I had listened to a million songs and
translations of songs, so that helped a little.  But for me, the main
thing was He Was Alive, and Writing on the internet, and maybe,
just maybe, I could somehow reach him.  I honestly just wanted
to touch in, catch up, and Know….

I wrote a brief note to the editor, and waited.  And waited.

Maybe a week later, I wrote another one, but this time I said
something to the effect that this was Urgent, Important, and
that ‘he will be Very Happy to receive a message from me’…
and included a personal message to Alcir that went
something like this:

“Hello there!  So…you are writing.  That is wonderful!
I think you need to email me ASAP,   Shithead….
Love…..Carol”

The editor dropped me a note, to tell me he had forwarded the message.

And then I waited.

Eighteen Years later, and there I was, waiting once again.

 

 

…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…