Lucinda takes the bumble gum off her mouth and glues the cardboard slab at the telephone booth's doors. "Busy". The record starts as the recorder is on. "Lorena, December 24, 1994".
She was afraid of Christmas. And their fragile glass ornaments. And the turkey sat on the stainless tray and the ham with pineapple. And the sensation that joy last a little bit longer than a champagne glass (or a soft drink glass, if you're sat on the kids' table). And the silence of the presents' packages Lucinda craved for tearing noisily and fiercely.
And then came the Christmas with Cindy Lauper's LPs at the record player she won as a gift from her parents. There was a dinner at her grandfather's house. Lucinda went there without noticing her shoes weren't properly put at her feet. She spent Christmas at the TV room with her uncle, who was smoking and watching a program about Christmas throughout the world. The same uncle who put perfume aerosol on a handkerchief and gave to the female dog called Teca smell during Carnival. Through the door slit, her cousins blew little paper spitted balls and mocked of her shoes' mistake. That smelly balls glued on her hair like bubble gums. She had at her throat the will of yelling severe words. At least Lucinda had the dear one to sing Time After Time to her at home.
During the parties and meetings of the followed years Lucinda was pulled inside and outside like a rag doll. The same ornaments and the same tree were there. Some were old-and-faded; others were new-and-round. Some were absent and some were present. There's a belonging wish inside you sometimes, and right at moments like this existence seems small and unhappy, always incomplete.
There was the kitchen brightly smelling cinnamon and sugar. French toast: her reason for being. And it demystified everything. Fears got curved and were at the living room watching a still-life subject, jokes and mockeries echoing to that essences' place and returning to their owner with an extra-weight. Steams, noises, plates, pants and people were on a boiling conversation. Dogs licking the ground and jolting toes like they've had found the biggest bone of that yard. A frantic comes-and-goes of cutlery hid Lucinda putting her forefinger at the nut pie cover, while she placed fat pieces of French toast inside her pockets.
A man dressed like Santa Claus lights a cigarette and waits outside the telephone booth. He looks at Lucinda and eagerly shows his watch. Lucinda looks at him and focuses on the recorder.
"Lorena, December 24, 1994. That was my last Christmas before moving to the capital and the college life. I had to bring my neighbor and her brother (because their parents needed to make a trip in a hurry to visit a sick relative), who wasn't quite handsome, but who I wouldn't be bored to look at his face for the rest of the night. (Lucinda stops the recorder and swallows a little drink of Coke). And that's what happened after dinner, while the adults were drinking in the living room and the children played with their new toys -- sleepy eyes. My family was used to open the presents at midnight. They were so Catholic. And his name was, was... I can't remember. We kissed one each other and stayed together for the rest of the night. He said my face looked like the face of a girl who runs with the wolves. That was remarkable. Then my mother said that, at the day after the journey to the large city, his father was transferred to another military base, at another city. Aquidauana, MS, Brazil. Yesterday, with no apparent reason, my mother called giving me the telephone number she got with her neighbor. This one was cousin of his aunt's cousin. She said I could call him if I wanted, and that his name was Antonio. So she knew it all for all this time."
In the street, there was a huge line outside the booth, as Lucinda, without postpone anymore, dialed: 67 3241-8142. "Hello".