At the Crossroads (Na encruzilhada)
“Alone, of course!” The brother smiled.
“So it’s agreed. At midnight, alone!” the Other said.
They fell silent. The small night owl ceased its nocturnal whistling. The
moon rose and rose, trying to conceal itself.
The next day passed quickly. The late evening, as could best be said,
found the brother in a tavern. One glass after another, as suits a good
customer. The delicate taste of wine caressing his tongue, unfurling down
his throat, breaking down the corrosive acids in his stomach. “One more,
Belito. Just bring me one more...” he said, times without number.
The brother, in high spirits, ate supper late at home. Around eleven o’clock,
he set off at a walk. The spot was located, by foot, twenty minutes’ walk
away. His digestion demanding a more deliberate pace, the minutes
stretched out. And finally.....the crossroads: a glimpse of dancing shadows.
The shadows the moon throws on the earth are very different from those
of the sun. Abandoned silvery figures, grasses dancing in the wind, a
gigantic tree, a bird which, as though delayed, takes off. In the middle of the
crossroads, the brother stopped. An insignificant group of grasshoppers
flew out of the wavering grass, exposing two or three glow worms which had
been in hiding. It’s well known that the shadows the moon throws on the earth
are silver and adorn crossroads. At midnight.
The brother was almost falling asleep. Waiting, in the end, is no more than
an exercise in patience, a way of being to which humans are ill suited. Even
trees tolerate this state better.
He leaned against the tree.
As much as he wished to ignore the sensation, it became difficult: he felt, on
his neck, a hot breath which penetrated to the marrow of his spine. From the
wine..., he thought. But after a chill shiver, the fetid heat thickened. A
breath, sure of its direction, just the moment to truly repent. He thought:
He turned around as swiftly as the alcohol allowed. He looked at the thick,
brown tree. And he felt, nearly instantaneously, the heat, almost a gaseous
massage, coating his throat; a pillow of air; a warm fondness. He felt like
falling asleep. But – the bet! It’s not the devil, he thought. There’s no smell,
I don’t see smoke, his dog isn’t here. He smiled. He turned around again.
The grass was dancing with greater fury. The moon, spherical as in a poem,
was ready to give birth; he even thought it looked humid.
Page 2 Page 3 Page 4