In the beginning there was an attorney that lacked all it takes to be a good attorney…she had to pretend to be dead serious, she had to arrange her hair neatly when she would be more comfortable using them loose (the unruly hair makes her look like Pablo Neruda’s muse, la Chascona, which is not very flattering). She had to cover her tattoos and go through a plethora of laws that made no sense, and navigate the endless sea of bureaucracy and procrastination, and listen to tasteless gossip and witness the ruthlessness of the careerists.
All she could think was when exactly would be her next vacations because she was so addicted to adventure travel and photography…she could travel the world until the end of time!
She longed for grand open spaces and the cubicle she had to work in made she feel like a farm cow. And all was gray. So sickly gray and sad, and repetitive. She felt like spending her days inside an unforgiving gray labyrinth.
Thankfully the windows were huge and she could see the horizon, the sun going down, the clouds changing colors as night falls, the moon rising. She used to feel so guilty, vain, immature and irresponsible.
She had a career, she was a professional and she had to believe that was an achievement after years of studies, that Diploma. It transformed itself into a respectable job.
Her personal life was a mess and she had disastrous relationships. Mental disorders among her closest relatives who were dragging her in their descent into insanity. The psychologist told her to take a break, there was nothing else she could do. She decided to do so, but still, guilty.
A day she was having lunch alone and came across the poem ”The Old Man”, by the Greek poet Cavafy:
At the noisy end of the café, head bent
over the table, an old man sits alone,
a newspaper in front of him.
And in the miserable banality of old age
he thinks how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength, eloquence, and looks.
He knows he’s aged a lot: he sees it, feels it.
Yet it seems he was young just yesterday.
So brief an interval, so very brief.
And he thinks of Prudence, how it fooled him,
how he always believed—what madness—
that cheat who said: “Tomorrow. You have plenty of time.”
He remembers impulses bridled, the joy
he sacrificed. Every chance he lost
now mocks his senseless caution.
But so much thinking, so much remembering
makes the old man dizzy. He falls asleep,
his head resting on the café table.
She was also sitting alone, as the old man of the poem. Would she end like him, by the lack of courage to risk so little, and leave, for a while?
She needed a sabbatical year so badly. She decided to ask for two years instead. After three no’s she was finally granted her job leave and left Brasilia, her hometown, in a plane heading to Paris. Why Paris? Well, the French language is pretty and wine is cheap!
She enrolled in an Arts school. There she met two students that would become lifetime friends: the Nepalese Bishma and the Mexican Veronica. Bishma lives in the USA today and Veronica is in Mexico recovering from a cancer that fortunately was cured fast. Hopefully, Veronica will come back to live in Paris again.
Four months upon her arrival she met a guy at a Happy Hour. She was so attracted to him and him to her. There was something so pure and straightforward about that young man, he seemed honest, reliable. And she was so desperate for a solid ground!
They started dating and moved together after 6 months or so…she had to come back to Brazil to keep her job. The salary was enough for 2 people and he was curious about that South American country so far away. He could start his own business there, even thrive!
But then came the happiest of all surprises: they were pregnant! He reconsidered moving. They decided that the best for their little family was to stay, it was out of question an adventure now, they needed stability more than anything.
Their son was born on March 16, the year was 2017.
Everything happened so fast, and here I am, writing these words with my child asleep on my lap, as I observe the birds singing on the trees. I feel so thankful for all that happened so far. Our lives are far from perfect but I would do everything over and over again.
All those frightening visions of the future are gone. I used to imagine myself at an old age, bitter and regretful like the character of the poem. Not anymore. I took the chance, and it wasn’t hard as I thought it would be.
It’s true that when you’re single and can save money it’s far easier to change directions, but still. I learned that you can’t think too much, just do. Like in those strategy games, the path appears as you walk.
So, dear Bonjourist, if there’s anything that is not according to your beliefs and values, take it away from your life, because this situation is taking the place of alternatives that are the right for you. We all have a long way to walk yet, and we can go together.
This is my story so far, hope you enjoyed it!
I would love to read your story too! If you feel like sharing, drop us a line, comment, let’s get in touch!
Sending lots of love!