Mamãe and I would go for walks together on the weekends. Sometimes we talked and sometimes not so much. No matter how early we tried to get started, it was always hot, and dry. We’d go to the Parque da Cidade and we’d get freshly opened coconuts to drink their water along the way. The Brasília sky felt especially immense. You can always see so much of the sky in Brasília because the land is so flat. But when you are walking under the sun for hours, you carry that opening and brightening sky on your back. It hovers over you, and sometimes it knocks you over.
About two weeks before I left Brasília, we went for our walk. I thought we would maybe talk about how things were going to change and were already changing. I would bring it up myself if I had to, but only once we had parked the car and stepped out unto the open pavement. But I never got the chance to because that morning, unlike any other day in Brasília, was very windy. The red Brasília earth wouldn’t stick to the ground. The wind kept picking it up so that it wore thousands of twirling bloody-looking skirts. I was wearing one of them too, and it scratched up my knees. If I tried to talk I would’ve swallowed a handful of earth. I walked with my eyes closed and mamãe held my hand. Very uncharacteristically, mamãe didn’t make a fuss. No yelling or words of indignation. She patiently walked through the wind with me, not saying a word. She kept trying to slap the dust off me, but to no avail. When we got to the car, I slipped off my sandals and put them in the trunk. As I walked barefoot to the car door the whisking ground scraped and blushed my soles. For a second, I was sinking into earth. When I got in the car mamãe asked me if I was all right and then gently placed her hands around the wheel. She didn’t have any dust on her, only beneath her fingernails.