PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1986 - JULY
Tuesday 1 July
Tomorrow I fly back to London. It is nine months. I will feel a foreigner. This evening I even wondered how I would dress to visit an editor, I couldn’t remember. It is nine months, if Barbara had conceived with that hurried attempt on the morning of my leave, a child would have been born by now. Already the Coombes and Warrens will be accustomed to parenthood. I will slip another cog - maybe in the next generation of friends I will find my place. I have prepared myself to stay a full four weeks this time (even making arrangements to have the rent paid on my Rio apartment if I decide to delay the return) yet I have much less to do this time round - no wedding, no week’s holiday with B. In a way, though, I am already dreading coming back to my hollow life here. There is no struggle - my life is so free of complications, it is unbelievable, so free of complications it’s wicked.
Silvio took me to a cheap and nasty place for lunch because he thought I was poor. I told him my receipts in June were over $4,400 - that shook him about the same amount it once shook me when Charlie told me the same thing. Of course it is out of proportion, since $900 comes from the ‘Shell World’ job in January - but then Charlie’s claim probably was too. Charles Thurston is actually travelling to Brazil in July, just as well I’ll be away: last week’s lead story in N. W. was a Brazil story he’d written on my tip off. I told him I wasn’t going to work for N.W., it wasn’t worth my time.
The Junino festas have been overshadowed by the World Cup - even the boat parade last Sunday was brought forward a few hours because of the cup final, and there didn’t seem as many boats or as much spirit as last year. Nevertheless, it was still a spectacular sight, hundreds of craft - from rowing boats to ferry boats - jockeying for water space in front of the tiny Sao Pedro church here in Urca.
On the Friday afternoon, I strolled over to the Benjamin Constance Institute rather intrigued by the thought of a Junino festival for and by blind people. I was rewarded with a visit inside (I have long wondered what the innards were like). The fair had been set up in the inner courtyard. There were a few stalls, and a central stage with lots of people milling round. Strange that with so many people there seemed to be just two groups - them and us. Them were the ordinary people - friends, relations of the blind, visiting families, charitable workers. Us consisted of me and a girl with a headscalf on (a rare thing here) wondering around alone like me. We seemed to be two of kind - the voyeurs. We should have spoken - and, once, I did smile broadly across at her, but she didn’t recognise it, and I left as shy as ever.
Strelitzia reginae - Bird of paradise
Paul K Lyons
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