Friday, July 29, 2016

Over Rio
Over Rio


Standing straight and stock still at the patio glass; Jiro Parapeito cares not to listen to any music this evening. And God no, not the limpid satin tones of Marta Rouxinol...

A gold silk shirt softens his virile paunch of middle age, blends with the burgundy slacks and unobjectionably presentable mauve suede shoes toward the end of the week.  Home for hours as this day turned into night, he could afford to take more time off this quarter, especially as his sleek company on the Visconde de Caravelas, shaded by the lush floral leaferies of the bico-de-papagaio lining the rather secluded street taken a turn off of the cathedral park that borders the south end of the boulevard known to tourists as the Avenida São Bartolomeu, was quieting down lately (though no less successful than ever...  in the business of something indefinably elusive yet profitable).  He had people to take care of it, and to leave him undisturbed for now.

Better the silence, the concord wine of the clouded wind out there, above eye level, the lights of the night strown out down the valley from his height. Better just to dig his hands in his pockets, legs planted astride the wall-to-wall carpet, looking out, transfixed through the glass, ensconced among ambient beams and shafts of light from without, jaggedly blurring the darkness of his habitation, long past the time when lamps and panel lighting ought to have been switched on.

Some moods are so sunken, he finds no need even to fix himself a drink, or smoke a small cigar, either or both. This was the house on a hill he had the good fortune to be offered by the late sister-in-law of Tom Jobim’s former publicist
the very house that figured architecturally and in its landscaped environs in the inspiration for Waters of March.

A modernized architecture of off-center shelves and segments, white cubes and black pyramids, amid an insouciantly excessive use of glass lavished on the fundamental structures of chocolate timber. The uppermost suite cleared the treetops and with the help of the highest hill around, commanded a view over Rio the envy of many, if not most, of the Old Rich of the city
if not as lofty as the Jesus Redentor on the Corcovado range, out of view at any rate, around the other side of the bay as it was.

Green fronds and needles turn black in the night, sway from the wind in a myriad of shapes. A wild frame for his city and his contemplation of it, through the wall of glass, thin as ice, secure as steel.  The fury of the elements without in perfect dead silence.  Within, only the quelled ticking of the collapsible clock on the mantle.  In certain moments, his vision becomes aware dimly of his face, and then of his eyes, weary past their former sadness, on a look from their reflection to their owner, each regarding the other to try to divine something, anything of note not known already.  He had shaved his moustache of years this morning.  He needed no reminder of that.  A pulsation of yellow light in the far distance, a blurry point and no more, in an instant redirects his gaze, and the city’s colors once again hold his meditation captive.

For a while, at least.

Uneventfully, unremarkably, for no reason, his pensive absorption returns to his carpeted room, now darker than before, and his wide straddle of a stance, hands in his pockets, burly head hunched forward, back resigned. It is now time to do something else than think, lost in thought.

Any other time, any other year, he might have strode calmly to the turntable to lift and set down the needle upon the black vinyl of Clássico do Vidro, then poured himself a drink of exquisite vodka (the glass aside a receipt for a former airline ticket lain diagonally slapdash on the glabrous surface of polished wood over the bar), followed by a curt black cigar.  To celebrate, perhaps; to mark an oocasion; or to signal the end of an accomplishment.

Not this late night, this early morning.  No need.  His resignation was too far gone; inside he had already crossed over.  And yet…

For an untold period, he stood in the center of the darkened room, like some chess piece; no king, nor pawna rook, perhaps, awaiting the next move by some unseen hand, his queen already on her side, if not whisked away to oblivion...   Who was his opponent, to punch the time, if not, in the end, he himself…? 

It is evident that here, at least, Jiro Parapeito need do nothing more than find his way down the hallway, absent any light to speak of, padding the carpet like a bushed dog to his bed, to lie back clothed upon the covers of the made bed, victoriously defeated, head sunk like stone into the pillow still tucked and undisturbed...  To dream, perchance to rediscover a sleep that has eluded him so long, it lay in another world.  And so it came upon him suddenly, within seconds, before he had a chance to ponder the ceiling blank in darkness above him, as if death fell in love with him, rushing into the murky room to overpower him, to leave him helpless until he awoke to a new life. 

For he was finally over Rio. It was her city, he knew that all along. Now at last was the time to let the rains of March wash the day’s green silt down to the shimmering sea… may she melt back into the city.  And he was glad to let her have it.



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