Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Happened When I Died – The Story of Neri and Fernando de Noronha

Sometimes I think that I was not made for this world. I am either a crumpled mess or a star shining too bright. Either way, it wears me out.

I recently had the opportunity of a lifetime to leave this world and go to a new one. I visited an island off the coast of Brazil where I did not experience the dichotomy of too much or too little. On this island, I found my groove. The days flowed as they should, and my blood finally pumped through my veins with the normalcy that usually I run in circles to achieve.

Fernando de Noronha.

A protected and perfect marine eco-habitat and hour off the coast of Recife, Brazil. When the airplane touches down on the one, curvy runway, the vacationing Brazilians clap and cheer for the start of a new life. I later learn that they are actually clapping for the pilot if he/she has not bumped the landing. It's a Brazilian tradition.

On that aquamarine flight from the mainland to the island, I felt a physical, mental and emotional shedding of layers of cruddy anxiety and rage. The pieces of human misery shredded off my shoulders and back like flecks of dried dirt, and the remainder of that shit busted off my enslaved soul the second the wheels touched down on Noronha.

My bungalo at Pousada de Maravilha had a private deck with a bed. The view was so spectacular that I kept comparing it to level seven of a Mario Brothers video game. Strange mountains, strange lizards, strange turquoise water – the mere glance behind one's shoulder and it was easy to whisper, "Damn, God, you've done well on this one."

I had no idea how much peace my inner core would find during these four magical days. I had no idea that I would cry at night while looking up at the velvet sky poked with a million pricks of sparkles.

When a place is so beautiful that you cry, this is the evidence that we all came from a place before arriving on this Earth. The place we come from before we are born is so much more beautiful, so much profound, that when we soak up the essence of the mountains, the sea, and the sky, our souls are reminded of where we once reigned and we feel a longing to transcend the hell that can be our time on Earth.

Nerivado Paulo Da Silva was a guide on our dive boat. He took us snorkling, made us fish, and taught me how to samba. He opened his heart and treated me better than I remember any man treating me in my adult life. He spoke no English and I spoke no Portuguese. Yet we shared jokes, passion, and knowing looks.

Neri called me the other day. The expanse between Brazil and the States was crackly. I typed out in English what I wanted to tell him in Portuguese, then translated it on Google Translate. He listened patiently, adding, " si, Susi."

He spoke back to me, and without recognizing one word of Portuguese, I understood the meaning. Sometimes it's all in the intonation.

And then,

I could barely respond. My few words of Portuguese slipped my head. All I could think of was, "Si, Neri, si." And then I swallowed a bitter gulp, remembering Neri's bright orange house with the white picket fence. The hard-shelled crab that he scurried out of the kitchen. The motorbike with the two helmets - one for Neri, one for Susan. The fresh lobster in the shell, the 80 degree quiet breezes, and the whispered words of adoration in my ear while a strand of my hair is brushed aside my cheek.

I do not feel like I was made for this world. I chase after love, capture it, and then fuck it up. The hustle and bustle and complex sarcasms are too much for an already rocky mind.

But not on Noronha. Noronha is where I samba. Noronha is where I swim alongside turtles, eels, rays, and parrot fish. Noronha is where I sleep under the stars.

It is where a man with curly, long dark eye lashes, scars from shark bites and skin diving, and a pure heart lavs me for who I am, exactly how I am. Crumpled mess or bright star.

It was so entirely good to die for awhile, even if it only lasted four magical days.

1 comment:

  1. i feel like i was there with you or at least above you while reading this, thank you for telling your stories suze, love, sabi