ISSN 2359-4101

Brazilian Literature in Translation / Literatura Brasileña en Traducción

Issue / Numero

year/año: 2012
issue/numero: # 02



Short Stories


Author | Autor: Ivana Arruda Leite


Translated by Guilherme Henrique Miranda

Recipe for eating the man you love


  Take the man that mistreats you, stretch him out over a chopping board and
start battering him from behind. Then chop him finely and throw him in hot oil. Add
eyes and onions. Stir it slowly until everything gilds. The finely chopped tongue
must be put next, as well as the hands, feet, scallion, and parsley. When the meat
gravy starts exhaling the odor of those who burn in hell, pour boiling water until the
heart softens. Coat his cock with breadcrumbs and serve it as an aperitif. Devour
everything with a silver spoon, wipe your mouth with a linen napkin and burp at
large, so that it never happens again.


Women are all the same


  Marieta Severo1 and I have no time for solitude. She was married to Chico
Buarque, and I was married to João Teodoro. Both of them have caused a lot of
trouble to us. Teodoro was an alcoholic and beat me in the face. I’ve spent the
worst moments of my life with him. As though it wasn’t enough, the guy was rather
a fag. He used to seduce boys around, bring them home and introduce them to
me as coworkers. Well, see if I am stupid. He put the boys to sleep on my bed,
"The poor has nowhere to go," and slept with me on the couch in the living. In the
middle of the night João vanished.
  When he got too drunk and started to raise a scandal, I said to him: "One of
these days I will get my purse and go away without even saying goodbye." He
never believed me. "Women are all the same," he said.
  One day I was in the kitchen making lunch when João came in and saw me
pouring half a liter of a good olive-oil in the blender. "Why so much oil?" he yelled.
That’s the recipe; pesto sauce is exactly like that, heaps of olive-oil. I don’t know
why my eyes filled with tears. I turned the blender on the maximum, and that hell
of a racket, and all that basil being crushed in there, and those nuts being grinded,
and all those green becoming a smelly sauce, all that made me feel some kind of
novelty, a wish to start from the beginning, a bravery: I went to my room and took
my purse. The blender kept turned on. After that I have found so many things to
do, and so much fun, that I didn’t have time for solitude. João Teodoro was right:
women are all the same. One day, we all become Marieta.


1. Marieta Severo is a famous Brazilian actress who was married to one of the greatest Brazilian musicians, 
Chico Buarque, from 1966 to 1999.



Rondo


  Luísa thought it was impossible to break up with Mário. One day, tender as
newborn chick, she invited him to her house and asked him to never look after her
again. He was reluctant, but left. She didn’t even cry. She opened her purse, picked
up her diary and made a note of her only obligation for the next weekend: be happy.
  Luísa thought it was impossible to break up with Mário. She suffered from the
anticipated failure syndrome; she had already tried a thousand times and never
succeeded. One day, tender as a newborn chick, she invited him to her house
and asked him to never look after her again. He was reluctant, but left. She didn’t
even cry. She opened her purse, picked up her diary and made a note of her only
obligation for the next weekend: be happy.
  Luísa thought it was impossible to break up with Mário. She suffered from the
anticipated failure syndrome; she had already tried a thousand times and never
succeeded. That love was more like a cancer or a hopeless addiction. She waited
for miracles to happen. One day, tender as newborn chick, she invited him to her
house and asked him to never look after her again. Before that, however, she sat
down on his lap and said that maybe it was worth trying. Mário didn’t say a word.
She withstood and asked him to leave for good. He was reluctant, but left. She
didn’t even cry. She made coffee, sat down in the living room and lit a cigarette.
She opened her purse, picked up her diary and made a note of her only obligation
for the next weekend: be happy.
  Luísa thought it was impossible to break up with Mário. She suffered from the
anticipated failure syndrome; she had already tried a thousand times and never
succeeded. They had been together for eight years, but Mário only promised to
marry her when he got too drunk. That love was more like a cancer or a hopeless
addiction. She waited for miracles to happen. One day, tender as newborn chick,
she invited him to her house and asked him to never look after her again. Before
that, however, she sat down on his lap and said that maybe it was worth trying.
Mário didn’t say a word. At that moment, the phone rang. It was Mário’s wife saying
that it was the last day to pay the credit card bill. Mário asked for Luísa’s money
and went to give it to his wife, who was waiting outside. With the checkbook on
the table, Luísa looked at his eyes and said: "Don’t you take pity on me?" "More
than you think," he answered. That was an obvious cliché; he had never wished
to change that situation. She withstood and asked him to leave for good. He was
reluctant, but left. "I even paid his credit card bill!" She made coffee, sat down in
the living room and lit a cigarette. She opened her purse, picked up her diary and
made a note of her only obligation for the next weekend: be happy.
  Luísa thought it was impossible to break up with Mário. She suffered from the
anticipated failure syndrome; she had already tried a thousand times and never
succeeded. They had been together for eight years, but Mário only promised to
marry her when he got too drunk. The beginning was a passionate romance. They
believed that they were meant for each other. Nowadays, that love was more like a
cancer or a hopeless addiction. She waited for miracles to happen. One day, tender
as a newborn chick, she invited him to her house and asked him to never go after
her again. Before that, however, she sat down on his lap and said that maybe it
was worth trying. Mário didn’t say a word. On that moment, the phone rang. It was
Mário’s wife saying that it was the last day to pay the credit card bill. Mario asked
for Luísa’s money and went to give it to his wife, who was waiting outside. With the
checkbook on the table, Luísa looked at his eyes and said: "Don’t you take pity on
me?" "More than you think," he answered. That was an obvious cliché; he had never
wished to change that situation. She withstood and asked him to leave for good.
I don’t know if he pretended not to listen or if he played dumb, but he suggested
they should buy beer to calm down. Luísa said she wasn’t in the mood for buying
any goddamn beer and that she didn’t want to prolong that hell any longer. He was
reluctant, but left. "I even paid his credit card bill!" She made coffee, sat down in
the living room and lit a cigarette. She opened her purse, picked up her diary and
made a note of her only obligation for the next weekend: be happy.
  My name is Luísa, I am 37 years old and I’ve always thought it would be impossible
to break up with Mário. I’ve come to suffer from anticipated failure syndrome; I had
already tried a thousand times and had never succeeded. We’d been together for
more than eight years, but Mario only promised to marry me when he got too drunk.
When sober, he always had a handful of reasons: his child, his dogs, his home, his
wife, his parrot, his sick mom, money. At the beginning it was a passionate romance.
We believed we were meant for each other. Nowadays, that love became more like a
cancer or a hopeless addiction. I’ve always waited for a miracle to happen. One day,
tender as a newborn chick, I called him up to my place and asked him to never come
after me again. Before that, however, I sat on his lap and said maybe it was worth
trying. Mário didn’t say a word. Then, he laughed: "You’ve said that a thousand times."
At that moment, the phone rang. It was Mário’s wife saying that it was the last day to
pay the credit card bill. Oh, and he was cynical enough to ask me to lend him money
to take to his wife, who was waiting outside. When I asked: "What about us? What
about our situation?" He said: "Today is the last day to pay the credit card bill and you
want me to think about our situation?" When he came back, he found me standing
still in the dining room. I took a look at his eyes and asked: "Don’t you take pity on
me?" "More than you think" he answered. That was an obvious cliché; Mário had never
wished to change that situation. I withstood and asked him to leave for good. I don’t
know if he pretended not to listen or if he played dumb, but he suggested we should
buy beer to calm down. I said that I wasn’t in the mood to buy any goddamn beer and
I didn’t want to prolong that hell any longer. He was reluctant, but went away. I didn’t
even cry. And I even paid for the credit card bill! As soon as he left, I made coffee, sat
down in the living room and lit a cigarette. I have never been happy again.



Toninhas’s Car


  Toninha wanted to buy a car, and so she did. The savings she had earned for
cleaning houses were exactly enough to buy a 68-model Beetle. Red? Dark red? Purple?
A little of each. It had a lot of colors, dents from collisions, capsizing, rust. Medals that
were earned through many years. A car with a visible history, inscribed on its body.
  Full of joy, Toninha went home with her new car. She on the passenger’s
seat, and her husband driving. Toninha never had patience to take her driver’s
license. Besides, she was illiterate. But she forced her husband to take her wherever
she wanted. Supermarket, Santos beach, street market, mother-in-law’s house,
anywhere by car. Toninha showed the way, and her annoyed husband drove. But
she was The Car’s Owner, so she could command them both.
  One day her husband vanished from home with Toninha’s car. Three, four days
and no word from him. At his job, they said he was on vacation. "I will kill that
bastard, driving my car around, with some bitch on his side probably."
  Toninha went to the police station and reported it. Not her husband’s
disappearance, but her car’s. "It’s easy to find a car like that," the police officer said.
And so it was. On the next day, her husband was found at Praia Grande. Pissed off,
he came back.
  "You don’t even fucking drive, why do you want this shitty car?"
  "I don’t drive, but I want my car by my door as decoration. I will stuff it with ferns."
Her husband went away on foot. Maria Luísa was waiting for him at the bus
stop. The car was consumed by the ferns. It ended up rotting beneath them, like
a fern trunk.



Checkmate


  Whoever sees me with this crow on my head and this spangled mantle over
my shoulders cannot imagine me naked under Felipe’s body, the same one who
kneels before me and vows loyalty as a common vassal. At night, in the royal
apartment, he always seems a bit nervous when he sees me opening my legs. I get
it. For it must not be easy to fuck a queen.



Gilda


  There has never been a woman like Gilda. She was the devil. Her pleasure was to
pester those around her. When she got to choose a career, she became manicurist.
She used to hurt her clients on purpose just to startle them. One day she was called
to polish Damião’s toe nails. She found his feet so beautiful, so smooth that she
didn’t have the guts to hurt him. On the next morning, when he saw him naked over
the bed, she said as it was by accident: "You know, I thought your dick was bigger."



The real tragedy


  I will never forget that September 11. When I woke up, I found it strange that Hugo
was still at home. Usually he would have already taken a shower, made coffee and gone
to work. But instead, he was there, sitting in the living room, wearing his sport shirt.
  "We need to talk," he said.
  "Speak out," I said nervous.
  "I’m leaving."
  I didn’t want to hear the rest, so I went to kitchen and bent myself over the
sink, shivering all over my body. I thought about getting a knife.
  "The key is on the table."
  That was the last time a heard his voice. Later I learned that on the same day
a terrible accident had happened in Tokyo or New York. An Egyptian plane had
crashed against a tower and knocked down a television aerial. I don’t know exactly
what the tragedy was like, but I doubt it was worse than mine.





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