Someone told me that the pain should be a bit easier now, but it doesn’t work quite like that. I grant you, the despair and the commotion are gone, but it hurts even more than it did before. It seems like the pain increases with time, it doesn’t diminish as we hoped. The absence is stronger, bigger, more damaging. It is almost as if it is too much, so powerful, as powerful as my father.
Travelling to Brasilia. Congress decided to pay tribute to my father. I avoided thinking about it for as long as I could. Brasilia to me was mined territory, but I surrendered… the plane took off and I was in it.
I lived the majority of my life in Brasilia, where I arrived at the age of 4. I spent my teen years in the hallways of Congress, around my father. I came up with excuses to do school work at the House of Representatives, research at the Library of Congress, use the typewriter in my father’s office, try out his fellow congresswoman Cristina Tavares’ brand new Mac…
As a child, during the military years, I remember going to the Congress Club on Sundays and to the Press Club on Saturdays. On Sundays, we had barbecues with southerners like representatives Jorge Uequed and Amaury Muller and on Saturdays, Chico Pinto and Lysaneas Maciel played volley-ball with journalists such as Carlos Chagas and Flamarion Mosri. Perhaps they felt that on the weekends they could get away from the darkness that surrounded us all? Darkness that took Lysaneas to the cold days of exile in Switzerland and that arrested Chico for criticizing chilean dictator Pinochet. Chico was single at the time and spent a lot of time in our home. I was around 10 and adored him. When he was arrested my father had to take me to see him and bring him some chocolate ice cream. Or else.
In 84, right after our defeat in the direct vote for president amendment, I was at the Press Room at the House of Representatives when someone first called me by the not-so-cute name of “little consensus”. In a time when the consensus theory wasn’t big yet, I saw through the windows of the Press Room the troops surrounding Congress and ran to my father’s side. I believe that was the first time I was truly afraid. The other time was when Lysaneas – he really thought it was funny – called my house and told me he was the federal police terrifying me!
My first real job was with my father at the Ministry of Justice, my desk was next to his private office. I was so proud of this job I worked for free for months at end. I interrupted my English course at the University to live that year by his side. The year before, during the presidential campaign, it was already a year of discovery for me. He never knew, but I skipped a lot of classes just to listen to him talking on the phone and follow the designing of that fantastic work of political engineering that was Tancredo’s election for President of Brazil. The first President after the military, the first democratic President. I spent hours and hours just listening to him, mostly in code. And I LOVED when I managed to understand who he was talking to and what about. He never spoke openly, not even decades after the end of the dictatorship. And he pretended to be mad at me when I told him who he was talking to. He complained, but he loved it. It was something we shared.
Small memories, big memories, memories. This book we are writing is endless. The memories are permanent and more alive each day. In Brasilia, Recife, Caruaru or Paris. My father lives inside us, we take him with us and he will never leave us.