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It was in the late sixties. I am absolutely sure because I remember everybody piled up in the living room of our apartment, Mother popping corn in the kitchen, the Philips tv screen blinking in black and white and there, in the monochrome image, Man stepping on the moon for the very first time. The conquest of space had been initiated , so extolled my father, and my mother, standing still at the door with the big, fragrant bowl resting on her stomach, mouth wide open for having seen the future happening in her own living room, barely noticed that the popcorn was getting cold. We, the children and visitors , also didn’t notice. To see the things that were not yet a reality had always been, and would always be, my father’s prerogative. On that night I, my two brothers, the twins from the first floor, and Luiz, the caretaker’s son, made plans, many of them, celebrating the things bound to happen and not even knowing what they would be. But while the new times were not escaping from inside the television set, we made our lives right there. Our side of Ramiro Barcelos Street, the new part, was situated in that limbo space between the old Jewish neighborhood of Bom Fim and the Rio Branco district; there the street already had two lanes, both coming down from Independence Avenue, separated by a cemented divider of red sand. Propelled by the decline the cars whizzed by, peeling rubber against the cobblestones, and because of the traffic, we had to make an obligatory and anxious rest stop on the divider before crossing the second lane and way before reaching the little soccer field. The little soccer field was nothing more than the land where the blue and diagonal Clinical Hospital was erected, its structure occupying something less than half the total area; the remainder was taken up by a sparse pasture, filled with rocks and mounds, and used for the soccer games over which I presided. If you really think about it, the rank of captain of the team was a right Cíntia Moscovich Sheine Meidale 274 cíntia moscovich acquired by sheer force: I was the oldest and, therefore, the strongest, so much stronger that there never was anybody who would question my authority without getting an ‘I’ll-getcha-kid.’ As if my physical superiority weren’t enough, I had managed to buy an official soccer ball with my monthly allowance, which had cost me a week without candy, without matinées at the Rio Branco movie theater, without comic books, without the little marbles from the grocery store Aço Verde, and, most painful, without the sardine sandwiches from Dona Frida’s luncheonette at school. An atrocity of sacrifices, and I flaunted them from Calvary’s beaten path. That whole story made the soccer ball mine more than any other thing in the world, and it had the power to make my father respect, and make others respect, my sense of ownership—even though he was appalled at the neglect I paid to dolls and to playing house. Day after day, he reminded me that when I reached womanhood, the business with the soccer ball would have to stop. Ah, but reaching womanhood would still take time; my mother always kept repeating that her first menstruation had not happened until she was fifteen years old, still, some three years more than I was. In this sense the things that would make me more than a young girl would still take time, and I was free to play soccer with the kids. Very well. Besides me my team was composed of my two brothers and the twins from the first floor. The herd of opponents did not have assigned positions that were fixed, but it was always headed by Luiz, the caretaker’s son, one year younger than I was and, I would later discover, infinitely more foolhardy. Every day, after having finished his obligatory chore, there in the underground garage, of incinerating the garbage in the furnace that was dangerously stationed alongside my father’s tail-fin Fairlane, Luiz would climb the stairwell that accessed the building and ring the doorbell two times. It was the signal for me to go out, hugging my ball, followed by my brothers shouting, ‘Wait up.’ Many, innumerable times, I managed to burn my father up with my pouting face, my lower lip extended. ‘It...


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