The notebook under my pillow
I've always attached part of my existence to the capacity of writing. Even before I understood that putting different letters together would create words, I would already express myself with colored pencils and white paper. Apart from my sisters, I was not drawing, I was scrapping letters that I saw in my mother's big teacher's books. Growing up, I took a long time to master the spoken language, but I learned how to read and write precociously: at 4 years old. Before I completed my first decade of life, the habit of writing was so mine that the warmth of the words written with my tilted calligraphy on straight lines was strong enough to warm me. And this feeling was so strong and reciprocal that I would write every night before sleeping and consistently, with no exception, I would let a notebook under my pillow. On the attendance list of my bed, there were only three students: me, the notebook, and the pencil. In the future, I am no longer writing my last words before I sleep. At this moment, I'm waiting for the words of a doctor, who reviews, for the last time, what he is going to tell me: the lump in my dominant forearm is a tumor. The words are not necessarily awkward, the doctor probably had told them about a thousand times; they are, however, different for my ears. I start to laugh because I don't know how to react when he tells me that it is rare. Well, winning the lottery is also rare, but that is not the rarity I got. When I leave the clinic, everything in my life goes so fast that it felt like every day was a movie, but I would only watch the trailers, numbed enough not to live any experience. So many things went through my mind non-stop. Sometimes, when I get bad news, everything stops for a second until it gets back to normal speed. I always wish that this moment would last longer, not seconds, but days; which is impossible. Life goes on. Some yet-to-be-introduced character in your life is working at the moment. Some left-too-early character in your life is taking a pet for a walk. Some never-will-be-known character is also receiving bad news and is also wishing time would stop. For this character, time also did not stop. I was not wronged for cutting my frustration short - if anything, this was the reinforcement of my humanity. One day before my surgery, I write my last words in the notebook. It is a farewell letter. I don't know if I am coming back. I don't know if I am coming back horribly limited. I also write my last letter addressed to my grandmother. She died from cancer before I was born, so I never got to meet her. She could not read or write. I always believed I was writing for both me and her. I apologize. I probably am going to lose the last link I have between us. And I am sorry for my father, that will lose in me the last living thing that could remind her mother. Every word she could pronounce I wrote in notebooks spread by the house. At least, that's what he told me. I get into surgery. I thought - and this is something that did not quite change from the past to the present - so ironic that the hand that allowed me to write all my dreams in the format of a poem and all my fears like long proses was, also, the hand that could lose its movements due to a cluster of inconvenient cells that were pressing my tendon. After arriving home, the post-operation pain already was making me feel like the surgery was being performed with me wide awake. I was advised to take sleeping pills. But I did not sleep as fast as it was promised. On the attendance list, the notebook and the pencil did not confirm their presence on my bed. The impossibility of writing about the storm of feelings, fears, and insecurities made me feel everything even more intensely. The lack of the noise of the pencil touching the paper was as if every television, every radio, and every sound machine in the world was turned off at the same time. And I think about Paulo Freire, patron of Brazilian education, and I know his work on “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” does not refer exactly to it, but I feel in a pedagogical oppression scenario. The problem is that the oppressor is my body, and so is the oppressed. No one from my family walks into my room, they don't knock and don't even make any noise. Nobody including a part of mine, who is watchful on the other side of the door, waiting to get in when everything is alright. Which takes some time. Between frustrated attempts of writing with my left hand and tears over the fear of never writing again, this is the very first night I sleep without the notebook under my pillow.