Piassava’s Broom

When I was six years old I fell madly in love with Bianca.

At that age is when the memory of most people begins to form. I say most people because my sister swears she remembers facts that happened when she was three years old, and recount them to prove it. She is so convincing that we even believe it.

When memory begins to form, it is made up of fragments that often can’t be trusted. Stories of what happened, told later by adults can change the perception of the facts. Not in this case, no one knew my feelings for Bianca.

At that time, due to our economic situation, we lived in a simple one-bedroom house at the back of my grandmother’s house. The entrance gate, was shaded by a huge jasmine vine that when flowering exuded a heady perfume, and lead to a long corridor that immediately after the gate was walled by high walls. On one side the wall of my grandmother’s house and on the other a high neighbor’s wall where lived, along with a huge amount of dogs, an old lady, which I don’t remember meeting. All I remember is the dogs’ bark, because that hallway, which my mother kept spotlessly clean, was one of our favorite places to play, play soccer and it was made theater of the events that I will soon describe.

First grade, I was attending a nun’s college that was several blocks from our house, which was certainly paid with the help of someone in the family, probably my grandmother. That’s where I met and fell in love with Bianca. During recess, I wanted to talk and play with her, but she never show interest. Girls at this age are more aware of things and are more mature than boys. I believe Bianca knew I liked her.

Therefore I was surprised when Bianca, teddy bear in hand, next to a friend, showed up at my house’s gate. I immediately stopped playing soccer with my buddies, and went to meet her, but she ignored me and started mocking me. Not knowing what to do, I pulled the teddy bear from her hands and run into the hallway. She and her friend followed me, snapped the the teddy bear back and proceeded to hit me with it, to my astonishment and the astonishment of everyone that was there. With an injured ego and a feeling of love and hate, trying to dodge, I took the piassava’s broom that my mother had left by the gate and shoved it into Bianca’s face.

The next day, Bianca’s mother came to my house to talk to my mom. She brought Bianca featuring a face marked with dots caused by the hard threads of the broom, they looked like freckles. Luckily none of the threads hit an eye. My mother didn’t wait long to apply, right there on my buttocks, a behavior amendment.

It didn’t hurt, from previous shenanigans I had already developed calluses on the buttocks, but the shame, the humiliation and the feeling of guilt made me cry. However the main reason I was crying, only I knew, was that at that moment my passion for Bianca had met its end.

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