Guest writer, Howard Rappaport and remember that name. Writer extraordinaire, accomplished composer and fastidious gardener.
Notes from the Brazilian Embassy
Yesterday I had the same dream where one of my classmates spits a spitball into my ear and I become quite deaf.
D. wants to have a baby next year. She criticizes me for my desires, says that I am capricious and that I desire silly things. But her desire to have a baby–this I told her–is also capricious. It is a silly thing to have a baby, first, because it is economical suicide, plus, you must spend time with the thing, for it cannot fend for itself.
Maurilio makes orange juice for me most mornings. Sometimes I just say “Hi, Maurilio, how are you?” and he laughs, waiting for my request. Sometimes, though, I do not ask for anything, staring stupidly at him instead while waiting for him to react. He usually laughs and says nothing. Maurilio is a simple person. Even while his boss yells at him during the lunch service to hurry up, Maurilio smiles, mostly. Death to him, stupid guy.
Calm, I should remain calm. But this is impossible. I am anxious. I clench my teeth. It is too hot here and all my suits are of thick wool. I drink two or three cups of espresso a day. I gain weight. I need a little dog. I sense this. Not a child, but a dog.
D. is really getting to me. She wants me to decide my life and have a baby. I don’t buy this, I really don’t.
The other day I got into an accident. On purpose. People honking, cutting me off, flashing their lights and out to get me. I have gotten into the habit of slamming on the brakes any time someone honks at me. Indiscriminately. Last week I made my first victim. Bastard honked, didn’t know my policy, crashed right into me–wham!–breaking both his headlights, wrecking the front grill, the hood one big cave-in. I stopped all traffic by getting out of the car and ranting savagely.
The problem: I am in love with Hana. She is young and beautiful and speaks only Czech, German, Swedish and Russian, languages I do not know. She belongs with me, though, and not with her toothless, 83-year-old husband, Vladimir.
Meeting life’s challenges head on, I walk down the narrow embassy corridor, practically rubbing my shoulder against the wall, taking up as little space as possible, so as not to bother anyone. Enter wide-shouldered, ‘I-work-in-the Minister’s-cabinet’ Bernardo moving towards me, not yielding an inch, even though I have given as much as is physically possible. If I give way, I will have to flatten my whole body against the wall. I will be humiliated. He should give way a little. Suddenly, I step away from the wall, strong and determined, right down the center of the corridor. He is much taller and denser than I, my body bracing for the impact–then ramming against Bernardo’s shoulder with the intent to hurt, as he moves his shoulder slightly to lessen the shock of full impact and as I continue upon my way, not looking back, refusing to acknowledge the confrontation.