Lost Samba – Chapter 32 – Final Chapter
Some friends went camping in Lumiar, a place similar to Maua. The morning before coming back they went for a swim in the village’s dam. One of the guys saw a small whirlpool challenging him to dive in and to experience how being tossed around felt like. He under-estimated the power behind that mass of still water and was sucked into the piping and drowned.
He was 20 years old and born into a family of diplomats; an exponent of “New Brazil” seduced by a merciless whirlpool that killed him, a striking image. The invisible but immense pressure of water being held back by an artificial mechanism poetically resembled bubble of the sweet life in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro being secured by the military regime. This was like a tragic sign that the end of that era had been sealed. His body was only retrieved after his influential parents “convinced” the authorities to blast the concrete with dynamite.
As for me, one Saturday night the phone rang as I was about to leave home for a party. It was Mum calling from Teresopolis, Dad had felt ill and had been taken to hospital. The situation was serious and she needed me there, we would have to take turns sleeping with him.
When I arrived, Dad was in bed in a state of confusion; full of tubes everywhere. He seemed ashamed for being unwell and for making us get out of our way. It was mum’s turn that night and after a chat and saying good night I drove back to the house alone. I hadn’t been there for ages and returning there in such uncertain circumstances felt strange.
The next night it was my turn. His mind was starting to go and he had a delirium that he was in the boat where he had almost died of hunger and thirst all those years ago. He did not realize that I was in the room, but after some time he recovered his senses, calmed down and we said good night. At dawn I was woken up by doctors telling me to leave the room. They tried to apply CPR, but their efforts didn’t work; when they allowed me back his eyes were wide open but there was no life in them. The only reaction I could have was to go back outside, sit on the corridor’s floor and cry. It was all over without ever having started, I loved my father and had tons of respect for him, the opposite must have been true but we were never able to communicate our feelings properly to each other.
He had come from a rural Jewish village in the interior of Poland to reverse his destiny and to conquer the tropical jungle but it ended up devouring his dreams and his pain. I felt as helpless and as far away from him as he was from his own father when he was killed in Auschwitz. I was the continuity of his search for a place of sanity in an adverse world.