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Fia

What are these words for?

DC. Maybe to help people remember…

This book to help people remember… you must turn it around and help people not remember… helping people not to remember is more important now. Remembering is simple for me. You must change the thing you plan… not remembering is much better for me now. My future is the most horrendous monster… a monster so monstrous… extraordinary. The future is something I try to forget.

Sometimes people are pushing these things in our ears. They say this is a dangerous time for me but why should I care? It is no more dangerous than others. It is normal for the stupidity of mankind.

It seems right to talk about this now… to tell my long story. Long ago there was my book… my family are stealing my book away… stole it from me. Mankind is always unjust. The winner in the fight is the one with more force.

If I become demented now… it seems why I am here… I think I would like to give my money to the firemen who are living outside the house where I was born. I have the opposition of my children… my family they do not want me to do it… but I would like to. They hope that I will be measured insane… that is why they make me come here now. I have my children… my daughter… my sister-in-law against me… if I give my share to the firemen… what a fight there will be between them… what a wonderful fight!

I was born in ’35, in Portugal, near the town of Aveiro… the worst seat around Aveiro. In my time there was just one big road with one or two houses and nothing more.

I think I was very fortunate because my father chose to go to Angola. We had servants… people who call you Mademoiselle. I was having my own house in Portugal. That’s why I think you are here now… to talk about my life in Portugal?

Mother was thinking we are very poor, always… I don’t know… it does not seem true… I had a car… an automobile with a chauffeur that takes us from the house to our castle. Later I went back and what once seemed to be a castle wasn’t… it was too little.

My father was very wild. My grandmother said that he should go away, so the next day he filled in the form to join the army to go to France. He told us stories but I’m not sure of the truth… he was protected from hardship because a friend of my grandfather was the captain. My father did not follow the course to become a sergeant … instead he went to Angola.

I went to Angola when I was nine and back when I was seventeen… I had a boat but I’m afraid of the seaside and the sharks. I’ve been to the place where boys jump from the cliffs to dive for metal money… people throw the money and also food for the sharks… for excitement.

My father was pro-Nazi in his words. It was his spirit of contradiction. He listened to the German radio and I listened to the news coming from London. I was very the other side and I started to show an attachment for the history of the Jewish people, but in Portugal they were against Jews for centuries. In our vocabulary you can find the trace of hate against the Jews. Last week I swore badly at the GP… a bad word to call a Jew. I was angry about this dementia.

I married a black… not too black… a mixed-race man. We knew each other since I was seven years old. He was very special… my mother was very sweet to him… I went to my first music lesson with him… I remember he played the violin and I the piano… it seems a dream now… I made mistakes and he held the violin to hit me on the head… like all black people he was very peculiar.

My brother was the same age… I remember later on when I was twelve… and he starts studying chemistry and he took soda from the laboratory to make an experiment. They make a bomb together. First they made a hole in the sand and put the stolen soda in the hole. Fia comes to find them with her vase of water… ok… “Here you are at last. Put your water here.” Boom! It all flies up in my face. For days I had to pull the sand out of my face with metal pincers. My mother said nothing.

I was the second European to marry a mulatto man in Angola. In England there was a girl from high society… my family felt badly but I was already emancipated… I had already gone… they had no choice. We had the same qualities… we liked music and dancing. I would play music for them in the church… we danced tangos and he played balalaika. Soon we were kept apart… black and white… mulatto… a pale donkey… neither one nor the other… a mixed man.

It is a very interesting thing now to look back. My father was living in the mountains. He told me he had written a letter forbidding my marriage so I ran, I took a fast boat to Angola and arrived before the letter.

Now I am here because at 75 I have dementia and I am angry. I have my children all around me… four girls and one boy… the boy is younger… he is adopted… adoption of a mixed-race… if you are rich you can do anything. I went with my daughter and said the boy would be my son… we took him away because I had had a son… the twin of a girl but he was very ill… he died… I felt, no words can describe… barren.

It was later that I went to adopt my secret son. I had a friend who adopted a girl and I said to her that if she saw another child… a mixed-race boy, she must tell me. One day my husband phoned her and she said that in this orphanage there is a boy and he has no clothes and it is cold. My husband he was a very busy man… he thought of nothing but his business but he went to the asylum and he saw the children… I remember well… he told me that he had seen the boy… that he was naked and cold. I was in the far north… I phoned the girls and said, “You have a brother.”

I tried to move to him… one seat to another across Angola… a big place. I drove north to south… 1000 km or more in a small car and I am a very, very bad driver… terrible. I had to go down huge mountains in my car. I was in second gear with my foot flat on the brake… 2000 metres… 3000… close to the edge… with two girls. I drove all across Angola in a Vauxhall… with two daughters, a tortoise, a big glass box with fishes, a female cat and a dog called Annouska with a K… and of course the war was on.

I went the wrong way down a dirt road where men were fighting with guns on either side. I never thought of the risk… we were moving to see the boy… naked with no smile… a boy with red shoes… very sad. I went to a doctor… I signed a form… he said to take the boy away quickly. My husband made a meeting with the girls¼ he said, “Your mother is a bad mother,” and they all agreed… a bad mother for doing such a thing… one of them said she is a bad mother but I will take care of the boy for her… so I climbed again the mountain and I came back with the boy.

When the revolution came I left… my husband phones and says he wants a divorce and I said, “You are already divorced.” I left the house… my books… the boat… all my rich furniture and clothes… it was the revolution… my husband was in the Capital… we left without anything… without even saying goodbye… the dolls of the children… the cards… the army was coming… I walked away… I could not take anything… I felt I belonged to Angola… it was sad… a mess… I think about this all the time, the children… not of these old, sad people with me now.

My son never knew he was adopted. It was not something I could say. One day I took him out and told him he could buy anything he wants… he chooses a shirt… he bought shoes… three pairs… I said, “More… get more.” All day we were around the shops, he says, “But Mummy, why?”  He was afraid it was something terrible. I told him my terrible secret and he shrugged… all those years I had worried for nothing… it did not matter to him at all.