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We have always gotten along well. We never fought over toys, I never screamed at Her because I was hungry, I never cried on Her shoulder because I scratched my knee, and never have I asked Her to be marked with a full stop, as I have always been a woman of commas.
And there we went, life and I, always safe, always satisfied, nothing to add and nothing to take. The life that was given to me gave me, also, everything I have. It gave me a house where the floor is drawn in calçada, and the buildings painted in cheerful tones, filled with fado sang with body and soul. It gave me a family that stretches beyond blood, blue days and dives in the sea, pastéis de nata, starry nights, bolas-de-berlim on my hands, hot sand on my feet, sunsets to grasp memories, and Winter mornings to embrace the days. Above all, Him who gave me life, gave me also the choice of making it be lived.
And there we went, life and I, with days to trace on defined maps, and routes planned in advance. All was simple, easy and predictable.
Until one day, the maps drew intersections, and the routes didn’t seem to go anywhere.
Until one day, I saw the unpredictable become visible and felt freedom shrink to a palm’s length.
Until one day, the certain became uncertain, and the presupposed was no longer supposed. I looked around, blinded with panic, in the hopes of finding some understanding in eyes other than mine. But I found the world spinning, in a rushed calmness totally indifferent to my begging for it to synchronize its translation with my bewildered compass.
I looked around, blinded with panic, in the hopes of finding some understanding in eyes other than mine. But I found the world spinning, in a rushed calmness totally indifferent to my begging for it to synchronize its translation with my bewildered compass.
I was just a line being written in the dusty History of a planet, hidden away in some galaxy’s drawer, lost in the Universe’s attic.
And if I were a marionette, my strings had been cut, and with my knees kneeled to the ground, I couldn’t find the strength to get up, or to stop the tears from flooding my face. And the World remained with its feet on the ground.
Then I had a look at myself and, in a soulful scream, I shook off the tears and cleaned my spirit. Because when I saw myself, I looked at the expression of fear, of rage, and of loneliness. But that same look offered resistance, it answered without resignation and vibrated at the rhythm of a heart.
I learned that it takes humbleness not to add heels to the shortness that constitutes us. It takes intelligence to learn the fundamental – that not everything will go well, and that not all that goes wrong does worse. It takes elasticity to redefine priorities and rewrite wills. It takes audacity to see the limits of our arms’ reach, and hug closely everything that fits inside. It takes stubbornness to rip laziness away from the couch, and a short leash to dominate the life that pulses, restless and fugacious, in the veins that fill me.
So I frowned my brows, closed my fists, clenched my teeth, and chose. Deprived of any certainties, and filled with a fear that made my legs shake and my chest tighten – I chose to choose.
And in my choice, I signaled life, who proceeded cheerful and sturdy, until one day. I chose the expiration date to fuel the appetite, and the finitude of existence to immortalize horizons. I chose to shake off the laziness and went hunting for carpenter bees. I chose to synchronize with the Earth’s orbit, without stopping to ask the World to spin around me.
And when I turned to face life, I saw Her greet me again. I greeted Her back with a wave, and, suddenly, I understood that we were no longer walking side to side, in a pace dragged by routine. I noticed that, for the first time, it was me chasing Her – half stumbling, half running, half jumping, but with the righteous choice under my arm, and with all the courage it takes not to give time to Time.