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Mother of four forgotten nameless kids, Mia grows old refusing to let go of the little girl who dreamt of being a ballerina. Her hobbies include annoying her grumpy big brother, watching Sponge Bob, and keeping up with everything going on around the house.
When asked about her past her expression was surprised, a little clueless, as if she was trying to connect my words in a way that would make more sense. She remained silent. Then she looked up, still confused, but notoriously happy to know that now she has a roof above her head. Her life in the streets is now nothing more than unclear memories that fireworks and thunderstorms tend to bring back. The night, however, does not scare her anymore. She no longer feels the need to hide, to hold her breath and sit still with her eyes closed, until her whole body, as it slowly dissolves into the dark corners of the streets, becomes part of the night.
When asked about everyone who has crossed her way, she closed her eyes, delighted, happy to know she has found love in their arms. When asked about those who live an ocean away, she immediately looked at the door, clearly thrilled, probably wondering when they would be back again. She never pays much attention to what anyone looks like, she remembers them for the things we cannot see. She looked specially amused when asked about those who smell like rice and soy sauce, sunshine and caipirinha, tea and fish & chips, hamburgers and fries, snow and maple syrup, and, of course, those who smell like home.
She got distracted when she heard a storm coming with the wind. She looked at the window and started staring at the sky, fascinated as she watched how that cloudy morning was slowly growing into a stormy afternoon. Then she looked at me. I told her I could not make it stop, that I was not the one who had asked the clouds to work overtime. She tilted her head a little to the left and kept staring at me with the same innocent, quizzical look in her eyes. I realised then that she was not asking me anything, she was wondering why those violent drops of water no longer bring the cold. She sighed deeply as she turned her head back to the window. Rainy days are cold when you are lonely, she thought to herself.
Mia may not know the answer to many questions. She may not know the words to describe the warmth she feels inside her chest every time someone runs their fingers through her hair. But somethings go without saying. The sweet, crazy look in her eyes always seems to be daring us to have the courage to love deeply. Loving has been the sweetest, easiest thing she has ever done. Afterall, what in the world feels more like magic than a feeling that unexpectedly finds you? What else can reveal itself in so many different forms?
As her roommate and close friend, I can say without any fear of being wrong that we may have saved Mia from the streets, but she is the one who saves us every day. She keeps saving us from lonely mornings and unexpected sorrows. She saved us from grief. She showed us there was no way we could fill the hole Sushi had left on our bras, shirts, jeans and hearts. But it is amazing how quickly someone manages to create their own space inside of us, if only we are brave enough to let them in. If only we are willing to protect them from the rain, for as long as we can.
[Luísa Tibana, Maceió, Autumn 2020]
Don’t buy, adopt ♡
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