Having Friends

November, 14th 2006

Years passed so fast, and so much has been lost. I lost some dear friends, others not that much. My children had grown more than I could imagine. My parents aged. My career committed suicide. My nephews are men and women I love. My son is a great honest man who I'm so proud of. My daughter is a young woman who I admire and makes me happy. My city is not mine anymore. A new city adopted me. I have more wrinkles, more muscles, less waist, longer hair, I'm more conscientious, I am younger, and I am lighter.

Many things had changed. Others just don't surprise me.
I moved to another country and I would miss my friends horribly. I remember that.
Oh my god… How would I be without these people?

It was 1996. Far from home, I signed on the interner for the very first time. I clicked on the America Online icon, and opened an account. Browsing, I got to the entertainment area and then, by accident, I've found "Hollywood Cafe". What I've found there was people talking about my kind of things.... as they were part of my hall of friends.
I was fascinated, tempted to chat, but I was afraid to write for my English wasn't good enough. I went to that chatroom once, twice, and... one night when I entered the room, somebody said: "Hi, Mg". Followed by many others "Hi Mg's". There was nothing I could do but to follow my impulse and talk back. That was just the start.
That was when one of the best parts of me – MgMyself - came to light and brought people who changed my life. People who still have a giant influence on who I am. Some were brilliant, others ridiculous, some so real, others fake, some selfish, others wonderful. Some amusing, some just plain interesting.
I made friends there. Many. Innumerable. In that place, I discovered that people become too close when they meet over the Internet. I've met them in real life sometimes, and one year later I came back to Brazil.

Time passes...people passed. Once again, many of them had been lost but a small number was not. With these few special friends I’ve been talking by e-mail and instant messages for the last 10 years. From far apart, we watched the growth of our children, graduations, marriages that ended, new relationships, sadnesses, losses, joy, Christmases…and life.
Last month I had the pleasure to see four of my dearest close friends: Mary Pat Cantrell, Bonnye, -- and indispensables, infallibles -- Wendie Dox and Kim Zimmermann. How happy is this?

This is for saying that life gives us things that will never be taken from us. Some friendships and some people are bigger than any distance. I know, and they know that we are together, even if one of us lives in the other side of the world. I know and they know that nothing on this planet can destroy what we’ve built, from far away, on solid foundations.



I can see you from where I am.
I can see the green light.

I don’t feel like walking in your direction.
I don’t feel like talking, for you look like fiction.
I don’t feel I’m part of your dysfunction.

I guess your words have erased you.
I guess my sadness has killed you.

I can see you from where I am
So I look for what I once felt
But you’re not there…
You’re not even real.

I think my spirit has erased you.
Yes, sure...my heart has already killed you.


Inside my sleepless mind

I went to bed at 3 am but I was not sleepy at all. For a miracle I slept till 5:30, when Claudio’s alarm clock went off warning he needed to leave for location. I helped him out with things he did not ask, and he left. I don’t like when he doesn’t smile. I whish he could smile 24-7, but he says not everything in life is my “pink world”. I simply can’t pretend I don’t see it, so I made him a papaya shake – which is almost pink – hugged him tight, hung on his neck, “pinkly-kissed” his papaya lips as if it would change the color of his smile.

I went back to bed thinking I would sleep till 9. Morning was still night, so it was fresh. A nice wind was coming from the window, the fan on the ceiling, the cold bed sheets…my 350 pilows doing the perfect surrounding so that any move would be an invite for dreams…and I’m awake.

The clock on the wall screams every two seconds trying to convince me I should close my eyes, but my brain cannot stop: a retrospective of the last few months, a visit to the next few years, a try to understand my actions and my feelings. I hear my mother’s voice pronouncing her favorite words: “analise this…analise this…”

I go far and away while the clock tryes to hold the seconds like Hiro Nakamura; I do the math: how many years, how many months, how many days, how many bills, how much is fair, how much, how many, how many, how much…I remember people and things. My brain is freaking out as if I knew how it feels to be stoned; it seems like an airport board changing flight numbers and city names -- in my case, changing people’s names, pending issues and desires on hold.

Between a tic and a tac, sweet Chris Isaak comes and sings to me.

- Hey you, what you’re doing inside my head?

- You called me.

- It was just a thought; it’s this song stuck in my head.

- Only the song?

- A song is never alone.

Behave - he says the way he ever does, and then leaves forgetting to take the song with him.

Having Chris’ voice in the background, some other people come to visit me. Not all of them were invited, not all of them are welcome. Some of them just come in and say one single word; others smile to remind me I left something behind. I did leave a lot behind; I just want to know where I left myself tonight.
In nights like these, life comes and catches me! Plus, there are all these lines – mine and from others – hammering on my head in a complete nonsense disorder.

They are not your experiences, they are stories I wrote thinking of you
There's no substitute for enthusiasm, no substitute, no substitute? Dammit.
I wish I had Mark Zupan's strength
Imagination! Is it really more important than knowledge? I'd rather be wiser, Mr. Einstein...my imagination kills me sometimes
Evolution is an imperfect and often violent process
I'm tangled in my blanket of clouds, dreaming aloud
Read my soul, not my words!
My name is Dito Montiel and I'm going to leave everyone in this film
Passing hearts, passing hearts...so sad
I don't know how to play this game of yours
In the heart, not in this land or that. Lasting victories are won IN THE HEART
I don't miss those days. I miss you!
Send God, don't send Jesus...Iraq is no place for children
I miss romance. Why do I need it that much? Is that wrong?
Shut up Mercedes, you gotta sleep!

Just esquizofrenic like this…my brain thinks in two different languages all the time and some thoughts won’t happen in Portuguese. Someone asked me once to drop the “anglicisms”, but that would be self-mutilation.

I knew I HAD to speak English since I was a little girl, and then something almost supernatural happened and made me learn. Weird things happen to me…I’ve learned English from my dreams – either asleep or awake. No English classes, nada. Funny this way… From those days on, my brain cannot distinguish one language from the other, only one feeling from the other. Portuguese is for what is pratical, and English for what comes from the heart.

“I love you” is deeper than “eu te amo”, “amazing” is way overwhelming while “incrível” is just a bit increadible. “The man of my dreams” is someone “o homem da minha vida” would never be.

Then I’ve met people who sound like poetry just for being alive, and I found out that some of them couldn’t speak Portuguese. Thus my weird super-powered brain made possible to me to be close to them. See? It’s good to be a bit crazy. See? I’m explaining things to myself at 7 a.m. and I haven’t slept yet.
But I need to sleep, so that November finally arrives. October brought the change I was never prepared to: the sudden ending of the sweet dream that used to heal my heart. The emptiness of this loss relieves me a little bit, I confess, but at the same time it weights like an empty soul.

Maybe November brings me some flowers…

“Yeah, it’s empty out there”, says another voice while I hide my head underneath the pillows.

- Sing to me, Christopher.


I’m driving my car when I see a lot of people and the noise they are making. I’m curious so I look at them and you are there. You see me. I keep driving slowly; you step out of the crowd, arms in the air, screaming my name. It seems so unreal, but you call my name again, and ask me to stop. I stop at the wrong spot, other people yelling at me and honking their horns, but there is nothing I can do. If I drive around the block I”ll probably lose you. No! I don’t dare to drive 10 meters. When I saw your arms up in the air, stretching your neck in order to see me, your voice screaming my name…I stopped. I could only stop.

I don’t turn around – I don’t look at you, I don’t look at the other cars. I’m afraid to move. I look at the rear mirror and I see you trying to find a way across the sea of people. My heart is beating faster. My stomach is frozen. I’m so afraid. “Why are you here?”

You get closer and closer, people try to understand where you’re going, those men trying to avoid the crowd to follow you, they want you to go back inside…and you get closer to the car. You stop at my car’s door and I stare straight ahead. I freeze, and then I look in the rear mirror that shows nothing anymore. My heart is jumping, my stomach is turning upside down; I close my eyes like a rock is being thrown at my head. You knock on the window. I open it and look in your direction; I’m afraid my heart would burst out of my chest and stain your clothes. You wear long sleeves underneath short ones, but inside you wear a smile so wonderful it could light up the entire street.

My heart beat changes when I find your eyes. It stops!
Three seconds of death and I need a smile.

You ask me where I’m going. I don’t know. “I don’t know anymore, what about you? Where are you going that you ended up here?” You open the car’s door, lift your hand to someone I can’t see, who enters my car as soon as I step outside. You ask him to park it and whisper in my ear that I’m not going anywhere, neither are you. The crowd confuses me and I can’t understand your presence, you are too close. How come you didn’t tell me? It’s like a dream or some delusion, but dreams can’t grab people’s arms and you grabbed mine to take me somewhere I don’t know.
We pass through all the crazy people and they ask each other who I am, nobody answers, neither do I for I’m no longer sure. All I know is you are here, jeans, two t-shirts, your happy eyes looking at me, and a smile so shinny it would light up the entire neighborhood. You take me by the hand and we run towards the elevator, you pull the “close door button” once, three times, four, five, and the door shuts just when the crowd is reaching us. You breathe closing your eyes and hug me in silence like you need shelter. But I am the one who finds shelter in your chest, my back hidden by your arms and your lips kissing my hair. I don’t say a word. I can’t. My voice won’t come out and I wouldn’t know what to say anyway. We stand like this as the elevator reaches the 10th floor. Once again you grab my arm and guide me through the corridor taking me god-knows-where…I look at you...so tall... and you stop, staring at me. We are in the middle of the 10th floor’s corridor and I don’t know why I’m here, or you, because you didn’t tell me…

You say I look better face to face, I say you don’t look bad either, you smile "inside of me" in a way I can’t explain, a smile so bright it would light up the entire city. You hug me again, but before I can respond, you take me in your arms and just walk kissing me, while my heart stops. I don’t say a word. I don’t know why this is happening if I’m awake, if I’m not alone, if I can feel you here.

You open the door and I see your bags. I suppose you’ve just arrived, so I do understand the reason why I didn’t know you were here. I wouldn’t tell you either. I’d arrive, dial your number and say: “Hey! What are you gonna do in half an hour?” Then I’d tell you that I’m here to see you, that I could not live this way anymore, in this vacuum of thoughts. Then you put me back on the floor and I see the room spinning, you ask me if I’m all right and kiss me again. You take me to the chair and tell me everything I've been dreaming of. You also say you were afraid I would run. Run away from you? You should know I can't.

You hold my hands and I remember how I want yours, so I keep them close to my face and I see your rings… now I am the one who smiles - a smile so deep it would explode the whole planet.
I kiss your hands for they exist and you understand exactly what I mean. You sure do.

Can I lie to myself? Please let me think I’m awake, let me think I’m not lonely and your smile is here, shining so much it lights up the entire universe!