Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mamãe (continued)

Her office was directly behind the patient room she was to go in. I noticed a closed door that linked the two rooms. At the top of the door there was a rectangular window, just about big enough to get a good look into the other room, I thought. I grabbed a chair and stood on top of it so that my chin rested on the windowsill.

Tia Nastácia was holding a newborn baby by its armpits. She was getting ready to weigh it. Its legs were bent up and it looked like a startled chicken – just as tia Natácia had told me. Its mouth was gaping-black open but it wouldn’t cry. The baby’s mother sat in the corner watching. She was an Indian woman who wore a tight bun and had large, depthless eyes. She sat still in her deep-red garb that encased her like a tulip. Her lips were quivering because she loved and longed for her baby. The baby’s skin was still folded and I wanted to touch it. It looked soft and small to hold. Tia Nastácia wasn’t even looking at the baby and suddenly it started to shriek. The baby didn’t like her and I could have hated her.

My attention shifted to the ghost-like reflection of my face in the glass. I didn’t usually like to look at myself too much but that day I wanted to convince myself that I looked younger, even childlike. Most people get haircuts to get a new face but I was searching for an old one. When I was younger I wore my hair short with many bobby pins. Especially when I did ballet, to keep all my hair back from my face. The pins dug into my scalp until I got headaches. One day I came home and restlessly took them all out, crying and letting them fall to the ground in piles. I shed my little black bones and decided that I would stop dancing.

I couldn’t find my old face. Instead I saw a watery one that sometimes disappeared with the reflecting sunlight that stroke the glass.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I like the way the story is unfolding. It is very well written. The narrator Roberta and tia Nastácia are very interesting characters. I particularly liked the facts that Roberta comes from Brasilia and includes elements of Brazilian culture in her narrative. I wonder whether Jesse will come back and play some minor or major role. And the title Mamãe is quite suggestive.