Woman, by André Bandeira

(ao Papa em Valência. Fumando um cigarro com José Luís Zapatero)

Fighting a tiger is not inviting to recall whom I loved. When love shuts the door, the door shuts in a cloud and the cloud vanishes over the horizon. We survive because love fights till death, but it never dies.
M. came out speaking to me, one day, about marriage and my heart was blessed. But I cheated on her as someone who drinks a glass of chilly water in a hot day and closes his eyes for a moment, diving deep into freshness. When I came to the surface I crawled ashore, resplendent and smashed by the burden of having seen stars and paradise trees at the same time. I tried for twenty days to remove that mammoth laid on me and, finally I confessed my trespass. I lost her but I moved from one century to the other without getting old in a sole eve.
Later I dated A. four springs in a row. This time it was A. who cheated on me with a friend of mine, who chose to be my friend and pray, in his own way, for our happiness. She didn’t manage to say it, neither that she was barren. When I realized it, I gathered strengths to overcome that obstacle because I thought that marrying her, for a childless life, wouldn’t work. But it ceased working before that because she was looking into my face and not into my heart and the heart mirrored in my face was her intellect.
Then I got married. I became a father, one day. And when I laid my baby girl on the sofa of a lone November house, she began to move her little fingers and, thereafter, they didn’t stop pulling the strings of my heart.
I remember other women I fancied about on getting married, having children and looking back over a corridor of time with gratefulness.
At a distance from the struggle with a tiger, it stands a woman’s face. Women laugh among them at these sayings, and we beckon. But if we were not different who could ever come to the rescue of each other? All those women lie beyond our thoughts, as the tide recedes from the tranquil toes.
It is true that giving birth to a new life could only come from two beings, always new to each other. And how vain it would be to come out in the starry night and command the stars to kneel at our feet. A new being can only happen by accident. Therefore, only by accident could love happen. If man was not a woman’s accident and vice-versa, both would be of the same essence, revolving and fading as a butterfly in a parched cocoon.
So I thank the women by whom I never qualified as husband and I do not regret the dive we did together in order to escape an island round with water.

The traits of a woman’s face catch the lightning and stripes of the tiger as if a fortunate island emerged from the sea under the shipwrecked and slowly opened her eyes, dried from tears, the eyelids made of birds.

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