You need that summer, that early summer, of which you’ll recall you lived your life as a dream. You found that “impossible” was a myth– a foolish construct you made.

On a cool day, when the seagulls swoop in easily, and pedestrians pull their cardigans closer, you’ll think of the moment when it struck you that you were caught between youth and old age. The young will seem more precious.The old will seem more precious.

The substance of years will captivate you. Your empty hand will remember the grasp of an old woman who held onto it all the way up a hill. She taught you seasons– she was winter. Her laugh will echo in your mind; how heartily she bellowed when she called herself a “mentirosa.” She lied to you about having six husbands, but she had only had one, a “very impatient one.”

Maria Idalina. If said slowly, her name evokes a darkening sea, music created with strings, a flock of silver in flight. Her size and stature belie her strength. Walking sticks attached to her hands, she stops, and teaches you how to say in Portuguese, “I have plans today, I’ll meet you tomorrow.”  What phrase could be more handy?

You must remember that summer where red blossoms fell off trees like bees fleeing hives. Rapid and straight. Remember: the air was clear; the gold orb, hiding; that flirtatious look you received; passersby gliding; how quick you were to say, “Teach me.”

You need to remember how lifting your foot in step sometimes felt like ballet; how you skipped, unable to contain yourself; how smooth, condensed milk, rice and cinammon slid down your throat; how you thought a coin could bring you luck. Remember: the uneven pavement, the bells ringing, the shaking umbrella, the light rain. Remember how each departure brought new beginnings.

Remember the one who said, “You’ve traveled a lot, met many people, so you must know that sometimes when people say, “I was just joking,” it’s because you didn’t laugh.” How young and wise he was.

Once upon a future in your life, years from now, you will remember that summer. When the clock strikes then, you’ll need to draw the marrow of that summer from your bones.


Maria Idalina