:: Article

The Opportunity

By Adriano Queiroz (trans. Maisa Dabus).

In front of the mirror she looks at herself. Old. She is old. The deep traces: a calendar. Each wrinkle a musical note, a kiss, a colour. Her hair was white, just like marriage, then silky and of strong colour, now without life, faded. White, placid. Blind. She smiled, never thought that one day would like the advanced age. “Fear of being old is something for the young”, she laughed croakingly, bending her head to the side. On those withered lips, had passed full fleshed ones, actual dust. “Seventy seven years old is not for anyone, I stand here and still admire myself”. Now she talks to herself, mumbling some words. Walks through the empty corridors of a big house, as if walking on clouds. Sometimes she dances to epic music and other times rehearse some electronic music paces, bending the knees consecutively, trying to keep up with the rhythmic drums of the music. She’d rather do it wearing underwear only, it gives her more freedom on her movements. “I am shameless” said purposely, over the phone, to a friend who was inviting her for the mass at church, and she finished “I have prayed so much in this life, that I might have credit with god for over three incarnations” and laughed. What she likes to do the most is to laugh, not minding the tooth-less mouth. When she gets irritated with something, she throws her arms in the air or simply shows her tongue. For her, the old age is a mixture of childhood and life experience. If asked how lucid she is, the answer is “No, because if I was I would say ‘yes’, lucidity is something for someone who has a lot to live, but I only still living”. Seeing herself on the mirror she combs, towards the back, the fine hair. Get the lipstick and presses it against her lips to fixate the colour on it, hasn’t lost the old practice of when she was still a young woman. Using her fingertips, she cautiously put some perfume on. The ritual is sudden interrupted by strong knocks at the door. She jumped and closes the door of the wardrobe.

– C’mon madam, get the money at once!

– I am getting my purse, wait a minute.

In her voice, such sweet voice, very inappropriate for that moment.

The thief, full of anger and impatience, looking outside through a gap on the curtains.

Then she came out the bedroom looking very elegant, holding a nice purse in her hands.

– Where are you going like this? Where’s the money? The jewellery? Are you mad, woman?

– I am going with you. – she says getting her set of keys and turning off the lights.

Story in Portuguese at 3:AM Brasil.

Adriano Queiroz is 23 years old and was born in São Paulo, Brazil.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, December 25th, 2008.