BikeSuaveA2008 80x120Just about the time we were all beginning to stop riding bikes, my dad decided to give me one for Christmas. I asked him to get me a Monaretta or a foldable Caloi, which were the two brands of bikes everyone else had.

One week before Christmas, my new bike arrived. Not a Monaretta. Not a Caloi. But a locally made bike called a Bandeirante. It was a perfect bike for a six year old.

I was ten.

It was ugly, fragile, and on the handlebars there were strips of colored tape which kept coming off, and looked like Christmas decorations. The net effect of this made the whole ridiculous bike frame seem even more pathetic. But pathetic or otherwise, at least it was a bike. And it was mine.

It had always been my dream to have a bike and now I had one. It was no good thinking about the quality. Whether I liked it or not, I had no choice but to go out on it, as I’d been telling all my friends for over a month I was getting it. Of course I had no idea it would be this farcical excuse of a bike. Eventually, though, I found my courage and set off down the road.

My Dad accompanied me, naturally without having even the slightest idea of my inner turmoil. When my friends saw me, they froze, totally unable to speak. And so as to not disappoint my Dad, who was feeling very pleased with himself for what he had bought me, I pretended to be really pleased and lucky to have such a marvelous bike.

At that time, and perhaps also now, the thing to do on the Monaretta or a Caloi—which was a sort of mountain bike—was to do a wheelie up onto the sidewalk. This, of course, was what I was going to do to show off to my friends. My Bandeirante was supposedly also a mountain bike. I was in a sort of state of rapture, and not thinking about the practicalities of what I was about to attempt.

So I hurled my bike headlong at the sidewalk. When the bike hit the curb, the weak handlebars broke instantaneously. I was thrown to the ground, but the force of shame lifted me up instantly. I looked around at everyone, which could have only been for seconds. But it felt as though I was gazing at their expressions for hours.

Nobody laughed or made some stupid comment.

On the contrary, their silence was a sort of sad complicity. I looked at my father who was totally sheepish. I could see in his eyes that he was begging me to forgive him. I just shook the dust off my clothes, picked up the pieces of the bicycle, and went home, saying nothing.

I can’t possibly describe the emotions I was experiencing. Although I was just wild with frustration, I also felt a strange sort of happiness. Today I know this feeling as resignation, the feeling of finally understanding what it means to be born poor and to have less than other people. I also understood that what had happened previously in my life had also not happened by accident. Poverty was as much a part of me as my arms, legs, and nose.

I understood, too, that my life was going to continue to be like that in the future and, although I would continue to dream and those dreams would be limitless, their realization would forever be compromised. For the rest of my life I would only get a part of what I wanted.

This came to me as an immense relief.

It meant that from that day forward, I would never have to worry about having illusions. I could allow my emotions to ferment into a sort of tapenade of sadness that I could spread over my life as a thin layer of pain.

READ ALSO :Monday I’ll kill myself, no more delay( a suicidal note).

Art By Luiz Cavalli

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.Antonio holds a BA in philosophy and sociology from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

twitter:acostaneto

facebook: Antonio Costa Neto


4Throughout my life, I’ve always been a creative person, full of inspiration and bright ideas. For me, life was a captivating game and I carefully uncovered its secrets. With my words I could charm anyone… But then it turned out that this very human ability has its limitations. I’d discover a secret one day and then forget it the next.

Half truths.

At the same time that I was losing sight of the profound truths for which I couldn’t find any place, I started losing ordinary things, everyday objects: keys, money, and so on.

Gradually, as these losses began to accumulate, I woke up one day and found I no longer wanted to be the man I had imagined I was. I probably couldn’t have been him anymore, anyway. That was where the decline began—the decline of someone who, by always looking for heaven and the stars, has made too many big bets.

But over time, as frustration begins to build, you start setting your sights lower. Until finally, with frustration appearing to take over, your dreams of life wither away and you lose for what most people is the most normal, natural thing: the rules, the conceptions of what people call a moral code.

And that is the final stage of the struggle—not to get back what you’ve lost, but to find some sort of definition, some sort of yes and no. Or perhaps just an infinite maybe which goes on and on, a bottomless abyss through which you fall, world after world, seeing much more in those phantasmal worlds than you ever could have imagined.

But I can’t keep hold of this.

Emotionally, I’m not up to it. I feel as if this knowledge isn’t mine. It’s something living and permanent that exists beyond ordinary awareness.

You might find this note confusing, wandering in circles and not going anywhere. In fact it is. As is the entire book and myself, the main character. But don’t forget, these are my memories, spilling out randomly. Without rhyme or reason or logic. And, as my friend C once said, “Writing is sticking your finger down your throat. Then, of course, you sieve through all the puke, molding it, shaping it. Who knows? It might even turn into a flower. But the critical moment is sticking your finger down your throat.”

Now, allow me please to stick my finger down my throat


ART BY LUIZ CAVALLI

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.

twitter:acostaneto

facebook: Antonio Costa Neto


Ele acordou com uma tremenda ressaca e prometeu que nunca mais iria beber.
Aquela seria uma decisão definitiva.
Ele estava 100% convencido de que a bebida não fazia mal apenas para o corpo, mas também para a sua alma.
Fora o fato de que a relação com seus filhos e sua mulher estava caminhando no mesmo sentido que a sua situação profissional.
Ele havia perdido o emprego há dois anos e nunca mais conseguiu um outro.
Em parte porque não queria. Em parte porque simplesmente não conseguia receber ordens.
Com a perda do emprego, e sem trabalhar por dois anos, havia perdido todas as suas economias.
Agora ele sentia que estava perdendo também a família.
Por isso, decidiu nunca mais beber.
Mas essa decisão ele tomou às 10 horas da manhã, com uma tremenda ressaca, dor de cabeça, náusea e uma angústia quase insuportável.
Às 6 horas da tarde desse mesmo dia, ele mudou de idéia.
Depois de um dia todo de tristeza, melancolia, pensamentos sombrios e um total pessimismo em relação ao seu futuro, um pensamento maravilhoso cruzou sua mente e um sentimento positivo invadiu seu coração.
Ele pensou e sentiu que talvez o fim não estivesse chegado ainda.
Que talvez essa situação toda fosse apenas uma má fase.
Num instante, ele se sentiu outra vez como o velho e bom Francisco.
Espirituoso, criativo, inteligente, charmoso, sedutor e predestinado a ser um homem feliz, bem- sucedido e amado por todos.
Esse pensamento e essa emoção eram mais fortes do que tudo.
Eram a prova mais concreta de que a vida deveria ser vivida com intensidade.
Que no caso dele, especialmente ele, sendo um homem tão talentoso, não poderia se deixar levar por pensamentos menores.
A felicidade, ele pensou, é para quem ousa, para quem sonha alto, para quem se aventura, para quem se deixa levar, para quem tem coragem.
Ele entrou no bar e pediu uma vodka sem gelo. Depois da primeira vodka, ele não lembra o que aconteceu.
Na manhã seguinte, acordou com uma tremenda ressaca e prometeu que nunca mais iria beber.