On This Sunday Morning

by kangcuzzi

It is a Sunday morning here in Candeal and I am feeling an urge to write. A friendly samba tune floats through the window as I sit on my bed; the sweetness of homemade chocolate cake, made the previous day in the heat of the kitchen, lingers in my mouth.

The day is slow, as days often are— if we let them be.

Slow days are days when I awake to shouts and barks on the street, the early morning chatter of my neighborhood. They are the mornings I spent in Rio Vermelho, drinking Ovo Maltine milkshakes post-wax with my sister, or in Nazaré, painting watercolor designs as the radio hums familiar tunes. They are the afternoons spent wandering throughout the city with a peanut-flavoured popsicle, the hours spent reading on park benches or clean beds, the people who begin conversations in the heat of a Bahian summer.

Slow days look like Paulo, the long-locked man with whom I spent two hours conversing in Campo Grande about language, capoeira, and the art of being ‘street-wise’. Memories of slow days are the sheaves of paper stapled into my journal, decorated with Paulo’s life philosophies and the promise of future encounters. They are the bookmarks lying around the room, the Kindle left on hold, balls of yarn curled up, asleep, on my desk, handmade cards about to be made and given to people who deserve warmth and other beautiful things.

And on these days, night falls slowly, gradually. When the sun sets and the room gets dark, the television is turned on and stays on for the rest of the evening. Family members gather in the living room to converse sporadically. On a late-night walk through the streets of Candeal (conducted for the purpose of finding band-aids), I come across Priscilla and a group of her younger friends. I teach them how to greet others in Korean. Another night I walk to the nearby gas station for a evening abará, the steamed cousin of acarajé, brimming with shrimp paste and cubed vegetables and spice. With fingers stained yellow from dendê oil, seven students then gather around a laptop in a collective house, nestle in beanbags, and watch Mean Girls over the rustle of brigadeiro flavoured wafers and fizzy Guaraná.

Today looks like another one of these days, and this is a promising thought.