Note: As a reviewer, I only offer my opinion, hoping you will find it useful: you decide what to keep or throw away!
The first thing I notice about this chapter is the huge amount of information being 'told' to the reader. I liked the paragraph where you put us in Butchie's shoes and showed us what he felt, but I would have liked to have seen more of that. Perhaps you could intersperse his reactions with the email from Christina, so we see what he thinks about each new thing he learns, as he learns it. That's my primary suggestion for this chapter. I'll give you some technical feedback on what's there as well.
His heart was beating just as fast as Christina's in Brazil when he got this.
I would take out the comparison to Christina. 'His heart was beating fast' is great 'showing'.
He was pleased.
And we're back to telling. This isn't necessary. Use things like his fast heart rate, a smile he can't keep off his face, a growing sense of excitement, etc to 'show' us how he feels.
He walked, naked, to his large window and saw the familiar Caribbean Sea, so blue, so calm. He had to meet her! Would she like him? Would she like it here? Would she like to live here?
I was born in Philadelphia, PA, USA on June 1st. 1950. I was a premature baby. My mother, Gloria Maria, a Brazilian from Recife, Pernambuco, said she fell from the stairs and that's why I was born with 6 months.
'Born with 6 months' should be 'born at 6 months' or 'born 6 months early', whichever is correct.
Is it really necessary to have Christina's parents' life stories here as well? While you may have shared them, they detract from the story at this stage. A mere mention of 'we discussed my parents and how they'd met, what their lives had been like' would be sufficient. The reader wants to read about Christina and Butchie, not her parents. I would delete everything from 'They met in 1943' all the way to 'My brother Bruce was born and two years later, I was.' Keep the focus on Christina and Buthie.
The doctors said that I wasn't going to survive (imagine if I had been born in Brazil) but I was strong and determined and survived. I never broke a bone or got seriously sick. I always looked younger than my age and I was and am persevering, stubborn and an adventurer, never scared of doing new things and discovering this amazing world we live in.
Good. What did Butchie think about this view into your personality? Share his responses here to break up the monologue.
After 10 years of marriage and living in Philadelphia and Colorado Springs, my mother decided that she couldn't live in the USA anymore. It was a modern culture and society with all the machines possible to help her in the kitchen but she wasn't suit to be a housewife and missed all the comforts, the pampering, the protection and maids in Recife. They decided something odd: she would go to Brazil with me and he would keep Bruce in the USA, forever. Why would parents deliberately keep a brother and a sister apart?
What does Butchie think about that? For that matter, what did Christina think about it? Share the emotions, not just the facts.
She went to Brazil with me, in 1951. I only saw my brother again 16 years later and my father, 19 years later. In Recife, my mother discovered that it wasn't a good idea to live there after all. She was still young and beautiful to restart her life but in Recife, a small, traditional city in the northeast of Brazil, she was a divorced woman with a child, a bad, bad thing in those times and nobody accepted her, not even her own mother, Naninha. Her 8 brothers considered her a whore and me, a black sheep. This is where I first felt like an outcast!
Butchie must have been angered to read that. Share his reactions.
My mother applied for a job in the Brazilian Consulate in Miami.
I would just say that she got a job, and not bother saying she applied.
She applied for a job to work as a receptionist. She spoke Portuguese and English, was lovely and intelligent and very popular among her coworkers. My mother and Colmar dated and started a relationship.
These sentences aren't really necessary, and take the focus off Christina and Butchie.
They fell in love. She told him about me, in Brazil. He was delighted as he always wanted a to have a real family. His ex-wife was a monster, he told, and his two children, horrible. He proposed marriage and she accepted. With this, it was time to get me back, have a family or better, pretend that she had a family, the perfect family. Everything with her was all about pretending.
And more reactions from Butchie?
She called mamãe Lurdinha to get me ready for leaving when she came. Lurdinha cried and begged her to leave me with her. She refused. Mamãe Lurdinha said she would not give me back to her. So my mother had to call my father, Henry, to travel to Brazil and fetch me. He did. He went with Bruce. This was the last time I saw him and I did not even know that he was my father and that Bruce, my brother. I was 3 years old. He took me from her arms in the airport and she fainted in Babá's arms, who sobbed openly. I was taken from my "mother's" arms while screaming and kicking all the way to Miami. My father told me, many years later, that he had hated the rescue mission but he had to do it. They had agreed on a decision that was only good for her, for my mother. I was put in her arms and next day, I woke up in a strange world, a strange room, no Babá or Mamãe Lurdinha, no tio Mario, no beach, fair breeze and even the palm trees outside my window looked smaller. I was quiet for many, many weeks. I never said a word and Colmar thought that I was a weird little girl.
That's great writing. What are Butchie's reactions?
Maybe this is why I am so childish sometimes, today.
Perfect time for more reactions from Butchie. What does he think about her admission that sometimes she can be childish?
I learned about the Baboons and their red butts, the black king scorpions that liked to hide in boots inside your closet during the day and I learned about the tiger sharks spread all over Cape Town's beaches, that would come to the shore and grab the person's ankles, take the body to the deepest waters and destroy the corpse in minutes, worse than the Piranhas in the Amazon River in Brazil. I had nightmares about this for many months and was never allowed to go to the beach even if they had electrical wired fences around them.
Great writing. More reactions from Butchie here! What does he think about all these strange creatures? Are they exotic to him, or is he familiar with them? Does he have some learning experiences of his own to share, that he might make a mental note of?
One weekend, I woke up with a scream coming from the kitchen. I got my teddy bear and went barefoot to the kitchen, rubbing my eyes. My mother was terrified, looking at my father, who was with a cigarette lighter in one hand and holding a bottle of alcohol in another, petrified. He was staring at the biggest and meanest looking African Scorpion I had ever seen in my lifetime (sometimes they would come into your house during the day - it was cooler than outside - to hide in closets, in boots and in secret places). He was kind of beige and black looking, hard and transparent, larger than a big tea cup (or about 8 inches), with 6 legs and 2 big pedipalps that he stretched out, both like a combination pincer and knife and he was ready to sting my father with his other enormous raised metasoma or "tail" with a stinger containing the deadly venom. I could hear his thin legs on the kitchen floor, skidding and moving while he observed my father ferociously. My father said: "Tina...don't you move, hear me?" Nobody moved but the Scorpion. I admired him, so mean, so brave yet so small. Suddenly my father cornered him on the wall by putting alcohol in front of him and lighting it with the cigarette lighter. Fire sparkled all around him. He rose. He observed. No escape. He tried again. Too hot.
The predator could not bear it; he was not build for sun, heat, fire. Oh He knew this so well... maybe from decades, years, centuries of preying and many adaptations, surviving techniques and dwelling underground, colonial burrowing or maybe his pair of unique comb-like sense organs, called the pectines, informed this solitary soil digger that he was really f****d up, dead.
These sentences detract from the action and aren't necessary. Also, you can't swear in an E-rated story.
Until today I never put boots on without turning them over with my feet.
I'd change that to 'Even today', rather than 'Until today'. What did Butchie think about all that?
to like and eat smelly cabbage (which I hate until today)
That should be (which I still hate today).
At home (we lived in a street called Swallow Field), I was both introduced to high society
You don't need the word 'both' there.
I could set dinner tables for 10 people all alone with silverware and crystal glasses. I discovered Nat King Cole in Africa and when I heard him sing Stardust, I cried deeply. I wanted to be a ballerina dancer and I would dance all over the embassy's house dressed in a white, long nightgown and Emmanu, laughing and giggling, would follow me.
Good writing. What are Butchie's reactions as he's reading this? Does he think she's too 'high society' for him, or is he thinking that she could cope with his lifestyle?
The emails are well written, you just need to a) keep the focus on Christina and Butchie, and b) continue to build the romance by showing Butchie's reactions to all he learns of Christina. How does it change his opinion of her? Does he admire her more? Pity her? Does he worry about how she'll cope with his life or does he now believe she can adapt to anything? Does he feel a kinship with her, or is this all totally foreign to him? How does this knowledge further the romance? That's the most important thing for the reader - how does this chapter further the romance between Christina and Butchie?