3:AM Brasil: The Silent Lilly
By Letícia Palmeira.
Do I need to introduce myself? I don’t think so. I’m not important. I’m not relevant. I am a woman at the window after midnight looking at my neighbourhood. Am I a spy? I don’t think so. I’m only a woman whose only occupation is stalking other people’s lives. And here I stand. I live in a flat. Alone, but not lonely which makes me perfectly happy, though I have no reasons to celebrate this gift. Loneliness is the legacy I got from my sister Daura. She used to smoke like a chimney. I used to hater her. She smelt like crap. After years as a smoker she seemed to be decaying like a parasyte lost in life whose only aim was to get to death. I remember her walking from the bedroom to the kitchen and she was quite like those antique trains which spilt smoke in the air. I dare to say my sister Daura was a cancer herself.
Daura pretended to be a nice person. She used to compliment people, smile at cats and mail romantic cards to men she had been involved with. All these men were similar to her. She could not have had someone better than her because she was awful. Stinky. She did not have all female authenticity. She used to wear awful clothes and if I close my eyes now, I swear I can see her looking at me with that pair of horrible brown and thick glasses. She was almost blind. Through the pair of glasses I could see her enourmous eyes staring at me and questioning me about my behaviour. Because, according to Daura, I was a repulsive person. Daura had this attitude towards me. She was always judging me, making me feel like a worm whose only occupation was to exist. For all the others, in front of our family, in our childhood days, she used to be so sweet. Actually, she was so sugary and her words, despite the cigarette taste in her mouth, had something enchanting. Daura was a snake making her poison take over control in family meetings and among our friends. But we did not have many friends.
Close friends represent an intimacy issue that I’d rather avoid. We both did. Actually, I did avoid friends more than Daura did. Like I said, she was open to people meanwhile I was like a cocoon. I did not have the pretension of having people next to me. Daura was enough. Her cigarette smell was enough and since us both were kids her devious way of touching me was enough. I was considered to be the most beautiful girl ever born. Pretty eyes and a long neck. My silhouette was magnificent. I could have had all men around me, torturing me to take part in their ritual of sex and seduction. But I was arrested. My sister who was 10 years older than me took the place of our parents when they died. It was just me and her and the miraculous universe created by God. I did believe God, but ever since she appeared in my room for the first time, all dressed up like a man, wearing our father’s tuxedo, I knew God had closed His eyes to me. I was alone with that sick woman who stole my beauty, my virginity, my devotion to my young and perfect body.
She was always there, after midnight, kissing me and asking me to be in silence and she also asked me to call her as if she were our daddy. So sick Daura had become, demanding me to keep in silence for all these years. She used to bite my body parts, my tongue and she always came to me with a different thing to open me up. Some days she put her fingers inside of me. Other days she came with some kind of sharpened object which I imagined it was a knife or a comb. She really cut me. Some days I bled like a soldier forgotten in the battle field. Some days I felt pleasure. Some days I felt hatred and mostly, I felt dead. She kept me in silence because she could not accept my beauty, my face and my blue eyes. All men we were acquainted to came to our flat to see me and she used me like a bait to have those men there. I still can remember her whispers through the night, making that horrible noise when she was making sex. She screamed and yelled at the top of her lungs as if she was trying to say something. I knew she wanted to hurt me. Torturing me for not having her love at that moment. By now I know that hearing those sounds and smelling those men’s perfume in the air made feel nauseous and then it all began.
One night I could not help feeling jealous and terrified. Daura had gotten me attached to her for years. She taught me Languages, Math, Literature, all subjects that made me become as clever as her. We were the same body and I could not allow those men break our vows. She had been my father and mother for such a long time. She was the evil that perpetuated love in my guts. I used to love Daura and I could not allow those men touching her so I’ve decided. That one was the first. Just one stab in his heart and he was dead. She smiled at me as if she was waiting for that. She was testing me. All those men were the way she found for me to prove my love. And I did. I was strong and more men came in and more men disappeared. The river near our house was the perfect grave for all the luxury she had divided with those stupid creatures. If you ask how we did not pay for our crimes, I don’t know what to say. Maybe it was God finally doing His job and protecting me. Finally, I could believe Him.
Twenty years of murdering and loving my sister as if she was my father, my mother and a very strong part of me. We used to love each other. I knew that at the day she was dying at the hospital. The cancer was dying. Daura and I were alone in this world and suddenly, she was gone. Dead. During the funeral I did not cry at all. I remained in silence because it was what she wanted me to do. She was buried and it was the very moment I knew she was what humanity calls love. She was Shakespeare and all poems written by her when she was young. Daura left me alone and our flat was so big for a worm like me. A woman at the window with nothing to do, but observe clouds, birds and live to wait for being buried like my sister was. A Lilly once pretty and now I was decaying.
And as I tell you the story there is a man on the other side of the street. He is looking at me. He is crossing the street and I hear his steps in the stairway. He knocks at the door. What kind of man comes to a woman’s house without being invited? I hesitated for a second and opened the door. He looked at me as if I was naked. So, at a glance, I felt something coming in my head. It took my voice, my eyes burnt and my whole body felt the urgency for that man. I opened my mouth and said in a soft tune of voice: — Hi. I’m Daura.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Letícia Palmeira graduated in English Language and American and English Literature at the Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil. Nowadays, she is working on her first book, to be published this year.
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Monday, May 25th, 2009.