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Early on in life I became one of those callous individuals who doesn’t believe in the existence of platonic love. However much she represses herself or is repressed, perhaps even due to this, the lay sister who secretly loves some lad always feels her sex vibrating amid her desires— or between her legs, to be more exact (excuse my vulgarity!). It can’t be different, neither for her nor for anybody else. And I know today there is nothing bad about that; after all, no feeling exists as an isolated phenomenon. Love, yes, love, that business not always lucrative but always contagious and beautiful called love, to be honest, does not function without its salacious side—just like the actual human body, capable of living exactly because it produces excrements, sweats, and secretions. Everybody knows that without its sewers the city can infect itself with the plague, that garbage is the other side of glamour, and so on and so forth. Existence is made up of these exchanges, of this fluctuating fluid, isn’t that so? And nevertheless, in spite of all this, in spite of seeing as obvious these few, risky, and unoriginal ideas, I am obliged now to ask of myself, in a quasi lament, the following: what’s the use of a concept like this, which I find to be sufficiently healthy, well conceived, and positive—at least it prepares me at every instant to bypass inevitable disappointments—if the woman I loved for such a long time and, therefore, desired in flesh and bone for such a long time, believed exactly the opposite, or rather, that only the platonic can exist as true love? So this was the impasse at which I arrived while looking for Goldstein ’s parents, trying to understand his disappearance from the office in order to verify the, I would say accusatory, statements made to me by Luca Pasquali about my partner. The only person close to Goldstein I knew was his wife, Rebecca . When I telephoned, I felt in her trembling voice that she was Bernardo Ajzenberg excerpt from Goldstein & Camargo 202 bernardo ajzenberg experiencing complete bewilderment: she hadn’t seen him for days; Márcio had only left a note under the door of the apartment, saying that he was going to travel but without clarifying where he was going or for how long. I proposed to her that we have a chat in my office; I needed information; it was imperative that we at least exchange some ideas, I explained. We made an appointment on the same day, and the situation seemed so serious to me that I adopted an unprecedented behavior: making up some excuse, I let Sandra leave early; in fact, I sent her out of the office immediately. Upon opening the door to let her in, my first sensation was that there was some mistake. Rebecca was totally miniscule: a little more than a meter and a half in height, her head small in diameter and slightly flattened, like an apple, tiny arms, her blond and wavy hair in disarray over her narrow shoulders, I’d say a person almost without any waist, with thin and short legs, her right hand drowning in mine as we greeted. I invited her to come into the office. In my room at the office, the lead gray skirt down below her knees and the white blouse with the snug collar, in their discretion, reinforced in me the surprising impression that that small woman had nothing to do with Goldstein and his mania for elegance: I was expecting a tall and talkative blond, with too much mascara, decked out in earrings , brooches, and necklaces, her long nails painted with a rubycolored nail polish. I was expecting someone with fingers adorned with gaudy sapphires or emeralds, or even a lady dressed in a blouse with an audaciously low neckline and an alligator-skin handbag. On the other hand, I admit that I wasn’t disappointed. On the contrary, for my purposes, the contrast between the expected and the real was even gratifying, one less problem, since it would be much easier, that is, there would be less interference in getting down to a real conversation , which, after all, had a specific goal, far from any emotional involvement. One detail attracted me right away to that real Rebecca, almost a pixie having difficulty in adjusting to the leather easy chair in my room...

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