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Rated: E · Novel · Contest · #1730522
After subscribing to a relationship site their lives changed. This is how it all started!

Christina's Walk of Life (and all the perils, confusions and magic she went through...)



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It's never too late to fall in love again!

His heart was beating fast when he got this. He was going to cancel all the other 76 matches and only maintain communication with this wonderful woman. He felt good, happier and curious. 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? An island, distant, offshore, with a different culture, with Crutian's Rastafarian's and the rich black families that ruled the island? What was going to happen to him? And to her...if she came here? How was she? Christina looked so true, so needy and shy, so woman and so passionate. He wanted to know everything about her.

Part 1

Dear Butchie, my love,


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 at 6 months. My father, Henry, an American from New York City, was an Emeritus Professor Doctor in a University and taught Modern Arts & Languages. He spoke 8 languages. They met in 1943, in Recife, when he was a Navy Commander and Cultural Attaché in one of the 3 American submarines that went to Brazil during the Second World War.

They met in a high society club's ballroom dance in Recife and fell in love at first sight. Her father, a sugarcane plantation Colonel said No! and sent her to a distant boarding school in Garanhuns, a small town 5 hours far by train. She was 16, he was 33. After two years of love and secret meetings, they married and went to São Paulo for some years and he worked for an Embassy. Then, they moved to Philadelphia, PA where he continued his work as a Professor. My brother Bruce was born and two years later, I was. 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.

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?

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!

She decided to go to Miami, Florida in search of a job. She would have a future there, not in Brazil. She left me (I was nearly two years old) with my aunt Lurdinha Gouveia and went to Miami in search of The American Dream.

Recife, Brazil

I stayed with my aunt for nearly two years and called her mamãe Lurdinha. I loved her. I thought she was my mother and uncle Mario, my father. We lived in a house in front of Boa Viagem beach and I had a nanny that fed me, bathed me, took care of me, dressed me up and followed me all over the house happily; me white and with golden locks and the nanny, black as black could be wearing a clean white dress. I adored Babá, as I called her. She would tell people that I had a speech problem because my tongue pronounced the words in such a different language. I was her pride and joy. I was always carrying my bottle or mamadeira and could not pronounce this long, Portuguese word so when I wanted it I would clutch my fists, become red and cry out the words mamadeira (bottle)... until I got it. She would fall before I fell just to prevent me from getting hurt and mamãe Lurdinha would always be in her porch, watching me and having her iced tea with her cousins as proud as can be. She only had a son, a son who disliked her even after going through a very difficult childbirth where she could never again have another child, daughter she wanted so much. In reality, she had never truly recovered from Mariozinho's childbirth (in her mind, I mean, she was never the same person), they said she was ill, mentally ill. I didn't care. She was my mother and I loved her. I was very happy and had everything I needed especially the beach, the sun and Brazil.  And of course,  the love of mamãe Lurdinha.

My mother applied for a job in the Brazilian Consulate in Miami. She met Colmar there, after two months. He was a Brazilian diplomat and  was the Consul at that time. 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. 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.

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.

We lived in Miami Beach for a year and during this time Colmar slowly became my father, my world, my best friend, my love and my guardian angel. And my mother observed this from the distance. She was never affectionate or caring. I thought it was only with me but through the years I learned to deal with this and understood that she didn't love, she was incapable of loving anyone but herself. When I was nearly 4 years old I went to a boarding school called Miami Assumption Academy (I wore a uniform and a tie). I slowly started growing up and even if Colmar was always there for me, becoming my mother and father, I always had a feeling that something was missing inside of me.

In 1955 my father Colmar was transferred to Cape Town, South Africa as a Consul General. We lived in Cape Town for 4 years. Cape Town was located near Table Mountain and we lived in a lovely house overlooking the beaches. It was one of the most pleasant moments of my childhood, if one can say that I had a childhood. Maybe this is why I am so childish sometimes, today.

Cape Town, South Africa

I was put in a boarding school called Springfield Convent, for girls. I only went home on Saturdays and on Sundays during those 4 years. My mother was too busy with the diplomatic life to pay attention to me but I didn't mind it, I was always alone at home or being taken care of by a sweet, strong, black, native man called Emmanu, a Zulu servant of the embassy and totally devoted to me. He introduced me to his culture and I spoke some words of his strange dialect with him, the words were spoken with strong clicks of your tongue.  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.

Sometimes when we went for a car drive on weekends to explore the surrounding areas and we would see baboons jumping from trees and watching us closely and I would become completely fascinated by their flashing red butts, like recent red-painted native faces, shinning in the sun and blinding your eyes. They would open their mouths and push their nasty-looking teeth out and pretend to be angry with us if you got too close. No one dared.

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 in danger, dead. I came closer. My mother screamed. My father got me in his arms. My teddy fell on the floor. The African Scorpion's body hit on the kitchen's floor. The noise was softer than that of my teddy bear's noise. He had committed suicide by stinging himself with his tail, on top of his head, in an invisible pyramid-looking area with his powerful venom.  He died instantly. His legs opened and stretched out. I started to cry, deeply sorry for this poor, small animal, so powerful but so vulnerable and... so lonely. Like me. I had nightmares for many nights. I often looked under my bed. Even today I never put boots on without turning them over with my feet. I know that they aren't there but I just need to double check, you never know.

In Springfield Convent, the boarding school, I learned the basics and how to be a little well-behaved "lady" but I was also introduced to Elvis Presley's or Elvis The Pelvis songs by the older girls; to be neurotically organized and clean by the Catholic nuns; to like and eat smelly cabbage (which I still hate today) and to go on long walks up the hills whenever possible and sit under the trees...which I simply loved to do. I would lie on the ground and watch the branches and the colorful leaves move gently with the breeze and sometimes fall on my face.

At home (we lived in a street called Swallow Field), I was introduced to high society, manners, etiquette, white, clean dresses, black shinny shoes, the nouveau riche, the wealthy, many presidents (I sat in Janio Quadros lap, a former "crazy" Brazilian president that wore black, thick glasses and looked like an upside down broom) and I met the famous and the important, the jet sets, the VIPs. 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. I was still weird, Colmar thought.

When my mother wasn't watching, Emmanu and I would go up the hills and to nearby rivers and follow little animals, barefoot and silent. One day I stepped on a beautiful but deadly poison Blue Frog. The pain was so acute that I fainted. I woke up in my room, with Emmanu and my father starring at me, each one holding one of my hands. They were crying. They never told my mother about this and I begged my father not to send Emmanu away. It was my fault, not his. He wouldn't and didn't. Emmanu was my savior: he had cut my foot, sucked the poison, put a mixture of earth, seeds and herbs on the affected part and carried me home. I had a swollen foot for about a month or more and did not go to boarding school, which was very nice... no cabbage.

I was told that I could have died, that day, in Africa... It wouldn't have mattered; I loved that country too much to care. I loved Emmanu just as much as I loved Colmar, my devoted father. As for my mother, she only cared about parties and dinners and beauty parlors and long dresses and expensive jewelry. I was not part of this (and wasn't interested) nor part of her elegant, imaginary, fancy world for many years to come.



Words: 2746

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