I stopped on the porch; I went dizzy, stunned, my legs were wobbly, my heart seemed to want to get out of my mouth. I did not dare go down to the chacara, and go to the little yard. I started pacing back and forth, stooping to patronize myself, and walked again and stopped. Confused voices repeated José
«In Secrets ...»
«If they get a date ...»
Bricks that I stepped on that afternoon, yellowed columns that you passed me to the right or left, as I went or came, in you I had the best part of the crisis, the sensation of a new gossip, that involved me in myself, and soon dispersed me, and brought me shivers, and I spilled do not know what inner balsamo. Sometimes I smiled, an air of laughter of satisfaction that belied the abomination of my sin. And the voices echoed in confusion:
«In Secrets ...»
«If they get a date ...»
A coconut tree, seeing me restless and guessing at the cause, whispered to himself that it was not ugly for fifteen-year-olds to walk in the corners with the girls of fourteen; on the contrary, the adolescents of that age did not have another officio, nor the songs any other utility. It was an old coconut tree, and I believe in the old coconut trees, even more so than in the old books. Birds, butterflies, a cicada that rehearsed the summer, all the people living in the air were of the same opinion.
How then did I love Capitú, and Capitú to me? Really, I was sewn to her skirts, but nothing happened between us that was secret. Before she went to college, they were all mischief; after he left the college, it is certain that we did not immediately reestablish the former intimacy, but it came back little by little, and in the last year it was complete. However, the subject of our conversations was as usual. Capitú called me sometimes handsome, mocetão, a flower; others would take my hands and count my fingers. And I began to remember these and other gestures and words, the pleasure I felt when she ran her hand through my hair, saying that I thought they were beautiful. I, without doing the same to the della, said that the della were much more beautiful than mine. Then Capitú was shaking his head with a great expression of disappointment and melancholy, all the more surprising as his hair was really admirable; but I retort calling him crazy. When I asked myself if I had dreamed of her in the evening, and I said no, I heard her tell me that she had dreamed about me, and it was extraordinary adventures, that we climbed Corcovado by the air, that we were on the moon, or that the angels came to ask us by the names, in order to give them to other angels who had just been born. In all these dreams we were together. The ones I had with her were not like that, they just reproduced our familiarity, and very often they were just the repetition of the day, some phrase, some gesture. I counted them, too. Capitú one day noticed the difference, saying that the della were more beautiful than mine; I, after some hesitation, told him that they were like the person who dreamed ... He made himself a pitanga.
For, frankly, I only now understood the emotion these and other confidences gave me. The emotion was sweet and new, but the cause of it ran away, without my searching or suspecting it. The silences of the last days, which did not discover anything to me, now felt them as signs of something, and so the half words, the curious questions, the vague answers, the care, the taste of remembering the childhood. I also warned that it was a recent phenomenon to accord with the thought in Capitú, and to listen to it by heart, and to shudder when I heard the footsteps. If it was spoken of in my house, it was more distant than before, and, according to praise or criticism, it brought me more intense taste or disgust than before, when we were only companions of mischief. I came to think of it during the masses of that month, with intervals, it is true, but with exclusiveness as well.
All this was now presented to me by the mouth of Jose Dias, who had denounced myself, and to whom I forgave everything, the evil I had said, the evil I had done, and what could come from one and the other. At that moment, the eternal Truth was worth no more than him, nor eternal Goodness, nor the other eternal Virtues. He loved Capitú! Capitú loved me! And my legs were walking, turning, staking, trembling and believing to embrace the world. This first palpitation of the sap, this revelation of self-consciousness, has never forgotten me again, nor did I find any other sensation of the same species comparable to it. Of course for being mine. Naturally also for being the first.