This story is for my grandmother who in life
taught me to see and live her simplicity.
Clarice woke up and due to darkness thought it was still night.
She got up with some difficulty, took the small flashlight that rested on the dresser next to her and went to the bathroom, guided by the beam of white light. Opened the door and turned on the light.
After use it, she turned on the flashlight again and turned off the bathroom light so that it wouldn't disturb her husband's sleep.
The beam of light took her to the bedroom balcony. Pulling the curtain aside, she peered outside.
Just darkness and a few dotted stars; a faint light could be seen to the northwest, where Bonfim, the nearby citadel, approached.
Clarice was unnerved, as felt that sleep was now gone. She returned carefully to avoid tripping on the carpet and threw the lantern light on the clock, which said 7:20 am.
At first, she thought the watch had a low battery, however the clock pointer remained steady and unfailing, just as time should be.
Putting the watch on her wrist, she went to the closet to pick up a some clothes, change and make breakfast.
The house was silent as if it were dawn. Clarice looked at the next door, where Miranda, her granddaughter and goddaughter, slept. Pondering what to put on the breakfast table, she went downstairs, to the kitchen.
She turned on the lights, drank a glass of water. Heated milk, took three stale breads out of the basket and put some fresh fruit on the table that she had bought at the fair the day before.
As she didn't like to eat alone, she drank only half a glass of pure milk and went around the nightly house.
All that was very curious, even though the clocks in the house showed it was almost eight in the morning, the sky outside was as black as the darkest night...
On the balcony of the living room, Clarice heard a door open and the sound of slippers hitting the floor. Her Romeo had woken up.
– But what is this, Clarice? I wake up thinking it's day, but it's night! – he slaps his hands on his hip, dissatisfied.
– Yes, Aderbal, I was also surprised when I woke up and saw everything dark... I thought it was the middle of the night, but all watches say otherwise.
– Yes, but now what? – insisted the husband still not resigned.
– Well, now we are going to have breakfast, Aderbal, what else is there to do? If we don’t eat anything now, in a few hours we’ll feel our stomachs deep, asking for food. And then, there is no one who can handle it!
Clarice went to the kitchen, followed by Aderbal, who remained sulking that the day had not started as usual.
Within minutes, they both heard Miranda coming down stairs, impressed by the darkness from outside.
The grandparents explained that the sun hadn't yet risen.
– Uh, that explains why I didn't wake up with mr. Florentino's rooster... – filling the cup with hot milk and coffee, Miranda continued. – How will the neighborhood be on a day like this?
The grandfather, leaning over the plate full of persimmon, shook his head. Clarice, as usual, called her granddaughter to the simplicity of the situation.
– Well, it is as it always was. It is not because the sun is not high that life stops. Chickens still lay eggs, cows still give milk and oxen still give meat...
Seven days passed and the Sun remained without his radiant rays.
Clarice, Aderbal and Miranda tried to live the days as usual.
Clarice went through the house every day, as if delighted to recognize places she hadn't noticed in her home for a long time: an old dresser, whose drawers contained letters from friends and family; a plastic stool that her granddaughter used when she was little; a wooden case that held colored pencils; all remnants of various lives.
Miranda sometimes accompanied her grandmother on these wanderings, but her heart was anxious when thinking about a future without light.
And Aderbal, tired of turning on the house lights all the time and complaining around the corner how he would pay the bills if things continued that way, let placidity reach him and he redeemed himself by rereading the old newspapers that were in one wooden stool in the living room.
However, that day, at a request of her grandfather, Miranda took her bicycle and went to mr. Florentino and mrs. Henriqueta.
Passing by the small hills and the dirt track, lit poorly by the bicycle lantern, Miranda shared her dazed mind with the mutts that ran after her along the way. As she didn't give them enough attention, the dogs gave up on following her.
She entered mr. Florentino's and mrs. Henriqueta' house and later decided to stop by mrs. Carmen and mr. Francisco, although none of them knew how to explain what was happening.
Old Chico's chickens continued to lay their eggs and mrs. Henriqueta's cattle continued to graze and roam the nightly hills. The two neighbors didn't care more than they should, they told her.
And Miranda returned to the grandparents' house even more stunned by the minds of those old people. Perhaps the simplicity of life has hit them so hard that their heads now hold only simple and uncomplicated thoughts, being unable to think beyond what was necessary...
Arriving at her grandparents' house, Miranda explained her frustration to her grandmother, when Clarice noticed her desolate and hurt expression. She supported Miranda by her slim shoulders to the kitchen.
The girl, with eyes full of tears, was looking at the cup filled with mint tea.
– Oh, grandma... But this can't be happening! How could the sun forget about us? How can we live a life of darkness, if not even owls live only at night!?
Clarice, with opaque eyes worn by age, but illuminated by a force that our science still cannot reveal, replied.
– In here, my grand and goddaughter – she pointed to her chest –, I sincerely hope that one day the Sun will appear to us again.
She got up from the rustic wooden chair and went to the sink, looking with the same eyes at the world covered by strange and obscure forces.
– Perhaps – continued the grandmother – as a lover who refuses to get out of bed due to a frustrated love, the Sun is also enamored.
Merci pour la lecture!
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