I don’t know if the day you were born was the happiest day of my life, because I was hit by a violent combination of panic, fear of hurting this tiny new being, curiosity, realism and responsibility. It might not have been the happiest day of my life, but I felt love grow slowly when I was finally alone with my tiny baby and had all night to look at each of his toes, fingers, his ears, nose, belly button, ankles, head, hair…. when I had time to inhale the funny and new scent of his skin. It was the most special day of my life, that I know.
Although we had the support of my grandmother, bless her amazing soul, your father and I had a tough time in the beginning. We lived in this tiny one-room flat near your grandparents house. Your grandmother, Marina, helped a lot, and I mean a lot. She and my grandmother were my saving angels. No mother should be alone when she has a new baby. My grandmother paid for our rent, your nappies, our food, everything. Your father sold fruit salad in the streets until we realized we were just spending what we made on the same thing. That was when I decided to move to Ibiza. Your father did not like the idea, although he still denies it. I insisted. There is nothing for us here. Even his mother insisted.
I contacted Uva and she helped me get a house. My grandmother and Tinina (so she says) paid for the plane tickets and rent, they even gave me money to buy a car.
I won’t burden you with the depressing details, but your father deserves some credit. I was not a happy person (my fault, no one else’s) and it showed. There was something wrong with the whole family thing. Your father worked like an animal and was always generous to me. Once, only once, he threw something in my face and I eventually started cleaning other people’s houses so that would not happen again.
We started to fight. All the time. My father had warned me the that men like your father (mummy’s boys), start to feel jealous of their kids when they reach 2. It seemed that on your 2nd birthday everything changed. Once you dropped a glass of Coca Cola and I will never forget your tiny, frightened face as you ran to me for cover. That was when I knew something had to change.
We continued fighting. It seemed that every time I focused on you, on your needs, he would find something to fight about. It was constant. You were always holding onto my hand, ignored. Neither of us saw you. I only saw you when I was alone with you, and what I saw was sadness. Both of us were miserable.
All three of us went on holidays to Bahia. Ricky came with us. One night, you wanted to sleep with me, you were afraid. I rejected you, Your father rejected you. Ricky did not. He open his hammock and took you in. You slept soundly for the first time in months. Ricky carried you when your father could not be bothered, He fed you when your father told you to go away. Everyone noticed. I saw it, but thought I was powerless. I tried to fix it, but was so caught up in the fighting that I never seemed to have the time or energy.
One day, we wen to call your father’s mother to Morro. Your father asked you to talk to his mother, You said no. He had not taken the least bit of notice of you all summer, so why should you? You were so tiny, 2 and a few months. So tiny and so determined. He called you an ‘effing faggot’. That was the day I knew I would leave him. That was the day I knew I would take him away from you.
A week later we left, in the middle of our summer holidays. with the excuse that I wanted to see my grandmother in Argentina. We never came back. I told you father it was over over the phone. He does not want to accept or understand the reason to this day. He never will. It´s ok. It doesn´t matter.
When I was 5 months pregnant. My great aunt, a witch, touched my tummy and said my husband was not what I thought he was. She said I would suffer a lot and then be very happy. After I left him, people started to tell me things. His friends, people he had worked with. They told me he would say things like ‘ She thinks she’s so cool when she speaks in English to him’. They were shocked, so they said, but the shock was all mine. He had never said things like that to me. He wouldn’t have dared.
When we got to Bebedouro, we were the sorriest couple of people in the world. I would cry at the dinner table, at the breakfast table, people just got used to seeing me cry. It took me 4 years to get over it. I missed your father at first, he had been a good husband but a lousy father to you.Then I stopped missing him after we spent one holiday together and he insulted me all over again. You were hanging onto my arm all over again. Forgotten all over again. Then he took you on holidays to Bahia. You did not want to go but I insisted. I think that is the thing I regret most about this entire pathetic story. Having let you go. Seeing you walk away broke my heart and I wanted to run back, grab you and run. You had a miserable time. You would not eat and people called me saying your father was not treating you very well. When you came back and saw me, you ran to me and I picked you up. You did not take your tiny face out of my neck for an hour. You refused to look at your father. At home, you made me promise I would never leave you like that again.
Years passed, Your father would come but he never took you away again. I did not let him. When you turned 6, I started a relationship with Jeni. At first it was not love or passion. It was not intentional and I had never felt anything other than curiosity towards him before. I had need alone for 4 years and suddenly he was there, listening, talking, helping me with you, available and as miserable as I was. He even had a girlfriend who stayed over at our house a few nights. When he stopped seeing her, we were both alone. It happened. That´s all.
Then your father found out and everything was over. Not with Jeni, with all the rest. I never forgave my father for telling him and I told him that. I broke off all relations and had to leave the farm that had kept us protected for so long. You were afraid, I had no money, no home, no support whatsoever. My mother says she supported me, and she did with some things, but she has never, ever, for as long as I have been alive, confronted my father or protected us against his actions and harsh words. It is her limitation and I don’t hold it against her. That is how their relationship was built. But I know I will never do that, to anyone.
Jeni, you and I went to live in a horrible, dangerous place where you suffered. I know you did. You are so strong, your little smile and company, sitting under that tree wondering when Jeni would come back after a nasty fight. I was a mess.
Then came the invitation to travel with your father. He took all your papers, but I never thought you would never come back. I decided to take advantage of the months without you and just leave. Jeni and I sold everything we had, gave it all away, packed two bags on a trolley and left. Walking. To Bahia. We hitched for 7 days. We slept on petrol station floors, ate the food truck drivers and restaurant owners gave us and got to Itacaré with 50 reais. The experience was not bad, It taught me there are good people everywhere.
Itacaré was tough. No one wanted to give me a job. They felt intimidated that I could speak three languages. I eventually met a woman who opened an English school with me. I rented a room with Jeni in her house. We were ready to receive you.
I got a call. Your father said you wanted to talk to me.Your tiny voice came on the line. You talked a little, you sounded afraid. I asked you when you were coming and you started to cry. Your father snatched the phone from you and shouted at me, saying I was a bitch, how dare I make you cry. He hung up in my face. I started to shake. I literally shook in front of all those people in the phone line.
I got another call. It was my father. No, it wasn´t him. It was my sister´s friend, his new ‘assistant’. She said, your father wants me to tell you your son is never coming back. I could hear my father’s voice on the other side saying, hang up, hang up. I fainted. I FAINTED.
At that very moment, my soul, my mind, my heart broke all at the same time. I lost all direction, everything went black and I touched insanity.
Jeni, Jeni. That man some criticize so much, He was my savior. I will never, ever, ever stop being grateful to him for staying with such a crazy woman for so much time after that. I would go out in the middle of the night in my night clothes looking for you. I could hear your voice. I could hear you calling me. I would open my arms and feel your little body. I would look at the moon. Do you remember the moon? Do you remember when I told you you could always speak to me by looking at the moon? Do you remember when I told you that when you missed me, you should talk to the moon and I would be looking at it too? Do you remember that? I would look at the moon all the time. All the time.
It got so bad, that my business partner took me to see a witch. He said your father did not know what to do with you, but that I was doing nothing to get you back. He said our connection was very strong and that if I talked to you, you would listen. He said he saw you next to me, but in a long time.
My temporary insanity eventually diminished. It never went away, but I became functional again. I taught English, I communicated… why didn’t I go after you? Because I did not have money to go where you were. I was barely making enough to eat and pay the very low rent. Jeni was fishing all day and made almost nothing. Because I did not have any support from my family or from anyone who could help me. Because they had told me you wanted to go with him. I do not pity myself. I do not regret not going after you because I know you did not want the life I had given you. The witch told me my mother would try to do something, but did not know how to. I heard she went after you, and you went to see a psychiatrist and that you wanted to go. You did not know the extent of your decision, you were too young to know what life without a mother was like. I felt totally helpless to change what was happening. I do know, that if I had had the money, I would have gone. I don’t know if it would have worked, but I would have gone. But I did not. The only person in the world who could have helped me did not have any money now either, my grandmother.
Your father would call me angry saying you missed me, that I had to go. He wanted me back. I knew the hell we had been through would only return even if I did want him back. He had always said he would not let another man raise you, so I knew it would be an ugly, ugly war. I wanted to save you. I wanted to save myself from that war.
After a long time, I blackmailed your father to give me the divorce or I would take you away. I did not have money then either, but I was stronger. I had just given birth to Luna. I blackmailed him because I wanted it to be final. I wanted him to know I would never go back. Luna and I went to Ibiza, he paid. He paid for everything. I had to decide in the airport if I would be nice or horrible. It was a split-second decision. I decided to be nice.
You know one thing I have always wondered? One thing I would really like to know? Once my mother said, when you were visiting in Florianopolis after my divorce trip, she said, If you speak in English to us, you can stay. You made an effort to speak in English. Why didn´t you say you wanted to stay? Did you want to stay? When she went to visit you in Ibiza, you asked her if you could go to Germany with her. She said no. Why didn´t you insist? When I was there with Luna, and your father cursed you because you dropped ketchup, like he used to. You looked at me as if you wanted me to take you away. Why didn´t you ask me to? Did you ever feel I did not want to be with you after so long?
Your father has always had more resources to look after you than I have. I have bee finding my way since you were born and have never had much money to pay for the expensive schools and nice bikes your father pays for. I have always thought you were happier with him although it took you a while to get used to being without me. You did not seem sad or tormented. Did you ever want to come back, even with the limited resources?
Do I regret anything? Only that I did not have the stability you needed. I know people will always judge me. Even my own mother, who I will not judge because you are not her son, you are mine, judges me. She says, I would have done anything to get my child back. I don’t believe her because I know her story, but I accept the accusation. I was too traumatized, too lost to drag you into my private hell. I did not want it to be as it was. I did not want any part of it. I wanted to be free of your father. I needed to know he could do nothing to me so I could then, maybe have a relationship with you. Sometimes I regret that I did not convince you to stay when you came to Florianopolis, the only time I could have kept you. But when I saw the admiration you had for your father, I said nothing. If his father has done a good job and he wants to go back… I cried when you left. It was the only time I really cried since you were taken away.
Do I forgive him, your father? No. I am sorry, but I never will. I am grateful he did give you a better, more resourceful life than I could have, but I do not forgive him for the hole he left in my soul. For the nights I almost went completely insane looking for you in the streets. For the nights I embraced the moon.
I love you my son. I love you, love you, love you. When you need me, I will be here for you. I am not good at showing it, or letting myself go because I see your father in you and I still have traumas and resentment to deal with. I am being as honest as I possibly can, as open and sincere as possible. You are the sun of my life. Try to be happy and I hope I can be a bigger part of your life in the future.
I did not re-read this because I wanted each word to come out of my heart spontaneously, without revisions.
This song is for you. Even if you don´t like the singer, the words are for you.