–  ❊ –

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 ♡


Autumn leaves

Ville de Québec, 2017

My dear Lucy,

If you are reading this letter it means that I cannot be physically by your side anymore, to weep the tears that will come with it. Now you must be wondering why you just got to read it since it was hidden behind the same bookshelf you have been seeing every day since you were born. I do not have an answer for that. All I hope is that this little piece of my heart finds you when you need the most a kind of comfort that no one can give you besides me.

I guess now you know what took me away from you, and how hard I tried to hold things together long enough for you to remember me. I truly hope you do. Although I know how much I was loved by those around me, while I was fighting for my life, I was actually fighting for you. My biggest fear was that from the moment my heart beat for the last time, losing me would haunt the most beautiful moments you were about to live. To be honest, I was ready to go but I would never be ready to leave you.

Anyway, I am not here to talk about my disease itself, neither about what I went through because of it. Fortunately, I just died once. I lived for years. I can say without any fear of being wrong that there is no recipe for a happy life. Nevertheless, you have in your hands countless ways to pursue it, and I wish some of my words can help you find your own.

The ICU walls are filled with regret. “I should have spent more time with my kids”, said the woman with hopeless eyes while she was waiting for her fifth surgery. “I should have said ‘I love you’ to her as much as I could” said the man watching his wife’s heart rate getting slower. Only when people feel life fading away, they realize they are not living.

For me death used to be exactly like the concept of tomorrow; we do not know how it is going to be but eventually it is coming. While I was in hospital I saw how it really looks like several times. I realized then that it is always going to be tragic. However, the way it is going to echo inside people’s mind is all up to you. Have you ever noticed that autumn’s wind whispers? I feel it is nature sighing as it says: “it is my last breath, I will make it beautiful”.

You know my life was not as long as I wished it to be. I did not get to buy a new car or to move to a giant house by the beach. Still, my life was complete. I got to share my last years with one of the most beautiful hearts I have ever met. I got to cry an ocean of happy tears when I heard your heartbeat for the first time, and even more when I felt you moving inside of me. I had a universe of love while my body did not have any strength. Life is just a whisper that echoes within the walls of an abyss for a tiny little second. Make sure that this one precious chance is filled with love and beautiful emotions. You will still have space for other things but always put what really matters first. Live like the sun; filling every single space with light, and leave this world like the autumn’s leaves do.

I love you with every single piece of my heart, even though it does not beat anymore.

Lots of love,


[Luísa Tibana, Ville de Québec, Winter 2017]