it took almost 2 and a half years of trips every weekend inside a smelly bus, but my Before Sunrise moment finally came. of course, there was no romantic intentions involved, however, i connected with a stranger for a little more than 2 hours and it was magical.
i was reading Inner Work and then i stopped because i couldn’t concentrate properly. the book was resting against my body and after a few minutes the woman that was sitting next to me, 38-corridor, said: i am sorry, but isn’t this a really deep book for someone so young? i laughed. i was taken by surprise. i’ve been waiting for someone to comment on the book i was reading for quite some time. i said: you know this book? (she gestured a no) i don’t think so, it’s jungian psychology and it’s a subject i am very interested and passionate about. she replied: oh, okay. you’re studying psychology? or are you graduated? and i said: actually, i finished college, journalism, this is just because i like jungian psychology. i turned 24 last week. she was surprised: 24? i thought you were 17 or something! i laughed again, because that’s what people usually think, that i am on my teen years.
she continued: you know, the reason i said that was because sometimes i feel that people are trying to rush things over, you know what i mean? like i went to college for a law degree and now i am studying education and i kept asking myself: why didn’t i study this before? when in reality, 20 years ago i would have hated education with their old theories and right now i love it. i think that things take their time because we have to be ready for them. i agreed. i said: yeah, if i was 17 and reading this book, it would help me to some extent, but i wouldn’t understand a lot of stuff, so i guess it’s a good thing i am only now reading it because i have more knowledge about this. she said: yes, everything will happen when it has to. you just have to be open to it.
we continued talking. a lot. she said she wants to open a company to help children, that even though she loves them, she doesn’t see herself carrying a baby. i thought that was a brave thing to admit. i said i understood her completely, because that’s what how i feel too. she asked what was my work and i told her. and then she said: that won’t feed your soul, you’ll leave it pretty quickly. i told her about my plan to open a café one day. she said that it was necessary to have a lot of money, but that i shouldn’t worry about it and let it take its course. it would be real one day.
i asked where she lived and she told me. then, she told me her story. years ago, she was doing a test and she met this beautiful and wonderful guy. tall, she said, with the legs of a volleyball player. some days later, they met again and exchanged phone numbers. she lent him a book about law and when he called her to return, she said he could drop it off at her work. he said no, she insisted, until he finally said: i want to go out with you. it finally hit her, and she couldn’t believe someone so handsome wanted to go out with her. they started dating and the first time he went to her house, he was fascinated with all her books. later, he would tell her that he first knew he was in love with her when he saw her bookcase.
she got teary-eyed. she said: you know, one day he went to my house and he never left. we lived together for five years, until he died. a heart disease, she said. i was listening to her story and i didn’t know what to say, so i said exactly that. and how hard it is to live through it. she continued: you know, i stayed sad for a year and a half, in really bad shape. then one day my friend wanted me to get to know this guy. she said he was perfect for me and wanted to know if i would like a coffee with him. i didn’t think much of it, so i said yes. when we exchanged e-mails, i looked for his picture and i knew i had met him before, but not sure where or when. when we met, we discovered. during all my college years, between work and classes, i always walked right by his work. and we would say ‘hi’ to each other. that’s it. only one word every day.
and then we met all those years later and we dated for 2 years and now we are married. she told me she still thinks about her first husband sometimes, about how her story with him will never be finished and that she wonders about things. she told me that her former father-in-law asked her if she would invite him to her wedding. and she said: do you want to go? do you think it will be weird? and he said that he would be happy to see her happy. all i could say was: people surprise us in good ways sometimes.
she told me about her nephew, ariel. and then i told her about my brother, a subject i don’t bring very often into conversations. i felt i could trust her. she asked me: where do you think people go? i said: i have no idea, but i want to think it’s like another dimension or something. she said: yeah. i think that too. it would be nice to have an e-mail or something though, to stay connected. i said: i think they talk to us, in some ways. we just have to be more open and conscious about it and to know that their answer is not what we think it is, to always be open.
she asked me if i had a boyfriend and i was about to tell her i had a girlfriend when she finished her sentence with ‘these days, you actually have to ask: do you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend?’ and that’s when i felt my heart saying that this wasn’t a typical conversation. anyone that does not assume everyone is straight is anything but typical, they are awesome and i want to hug them all. i told her it lasted 9 months and that i was still in pain. she said: i understand what you mean. just know that anything else that comes after will be less painful. i feel that the whole purpose of beginning anything is that it will hurt. and then you keep trying and it won’t hurt anymore, not as much. because you keep learning new stuff and you connect with people in different deep ways.
i said that i saw a point in what she was saying. she asked me how was it like, being gay, and if i knew since i was a kid. i said that i suspected when i was growing up, but that i was certain when i was in college. she then told me her brother was gay and he has a boyfriend and she only found out like a year ago. that she never noticed or perhaps never wanted to notice. i said that i don’t see it as anything different than love. it’s all there is. and she replied: i think we are like essences of beings and we sometimes think the first thing is physical, but it’s not, it’s that essence that connects with someone else and it does not matter who that person is. i said: exactly.
we talked about a bunch of other stuff that wouldn’t fit this narrative, but i will add it anyway for reference purposes: she told me about when she was a kid and she ruined her father’s very expensive pens and how now she brought them to curitiba to fix them. she told me about her brother that has very long hair and never graduated but is in love with music and he is a great dad. i told her about going to cuba in january and how there’s almost zero illiteracy over there and she was interested in that. we both can’t drive (i can’t drive yet and she has a driver’s licence but isn’t interested). she has ADHD. we both would like to drive jeeps, if we could. we talked about prostitutes that live near her house and how she is puzzled by them. however, we also talked about older women and how women have a better life nowadays.
and as we were approaching the bus station i kept telling myself: i have to write this down. she was wearing pink nail polish and a blue sweater. i was wearing my pink plaid shirt and my blue beanie. i finally asked if she’s ever seen a movie called before sunset* and she said no. so i told her what the story was and that they met on a train and everything. and she said: that’s what i feel life is. when i was with my first husband, it’s like we were on a trip together and it lasted five years. and then he got off at a station. and i could have waited there at that station, i could have gotten sick, which i would. or i could continue with my trip. and this is something i really liked hearing. i told her that. and she continued: sometimes i believe in living more than one life, because there is so much stuff to see, so many beautiful things and i can’t fathom living just this life. i said i felt that way too: i think life is so complex, and people mix that with complicated, but there is so much beauty in it. she replied: yes, it’s beautiful. you have to be open to all of it.
finally, she asked my name. i told her and asked hers. she then said: your name means happiness. i smiled and said: yes, yes it does. i usually tell people that and it was nice to hear it from someone else for a change. she replied: well, if you open your café, i will definitely visit. i told her the name of the café i would one day have and she said it was a pleasure meeting me. i said likewise. and then i kept thinking about this that happened and i came straight home to write this, because it needs to be written down.
*i always mix before sunset and before sunrise and i told her the first movie’s story with the second movie’s title. i still hope that she will watch it and understand this though. which is not what i want to focus on, but would be really cool.
listening while writing: Diadorim, o sertão é do lado de dentro