ESCRITORES



A CASA DA ÁGUA





Autor: Antônio Olinto
Título: A CASA DA ÁGUA, THE WATER HOUSE
Idiomas: port/eng
Tradutor: Dorothy Heapy
Data: 23/12/2004

A CASA DA ÁGUA


Primeira Parte

A Viagem


Antônio Olinto

Não sei como surpreendê-la no começo de minha história – de sua história – mas vejo-a, naquela manhã de enchente, sendo arrancada da cama e do sono, ouvindo palavras de cujo sentido completo nem se dava conta, sabendo que havia perigo e que desejavam protegê-la – é assim que imagino Mariana começando sua aventura, carregada por alguém, a luz ainda não viera de todo, um pouco de noite se prendia como água nas coisas, e só a idéia de que o rio transbordara lhe dava medo, mas ao mesmo tempo a sensação de que o peito no qual punha a cabeça constituía um abrigo seguro fazia-a considerar a inundação como um espetáculo que poderia apreciar com prazer pelo menos assim que o dia, chegando por fim, mostrasse a casa, a entrada lateral de pedra, a descida cercada de mato, o córrego em que as crianças tomavam banho e que ia terminar na correnteza maior lá de baixo, o bambual fazendo barulho quando ventava, os piaus saltando na vargem alagada, o corpo miraculosamente ágil do peixe de súbito imobilizado por uma paulada. Ponho esse despertar com enchente como início das lembranças de Mariana, e pensei muito na melhor maneira de contar o que aconteceu com ela. Poderia ter escolhido o sistema do narrador alheio, separado dos acontecimentos, mas de tal modo me é íntima, conhecida, a história de Mariana, que só consigo transmiti-la colocando-me de dentro e narrando-a como se eu estivesse, a cada passo, acompanhando as cenas, ouvindo diretamente os diálogos e recebendo na cara as emoções da longa viagem da menina. Porque é de uma viagem que se trata e dela irei falar, a partir da manhã em que Mariana foi tirada da cama e levada para a rua, que ficava em plano mais alto do que a casa.
Viu-se, de repente, no chão. Um homem gritava:
-Apanhem Dona Lelé! Apanhem Dona Lelé! A água já entrou no quarto dela.
Mariana olhou para a igreja, era dedicada ao Espírito Santo, ouvira tantas explicações sobre o Espírito Santo, achava bonita a imagem da pomba de asas abertas que havia no alto-mor, no dia da primeira comunhão tivera quase a certeza de que o pássaro se movera, quando falara no assunto os outros haviam achado graça, mas com o tempo a certeza ficava ainda maior.
-De quem é esta menina?
-Da Epifânia.
Ouvindo o nome da mãe procurou-a, mas a agitação se tornara muito grande e a menina se levantou, caminhou até o armazém da esquina, não havia mais armazém, ele caíra durante a noite e um grupo de gente remexia no que restara.
-Morreu alguém?
-Não. Quando a casa se foi, todo mundo já tinha saído.
Um armário tombado e coberto de tijolos tinha pedaços de pano aparecendo através dos buracos, uma cama de metal estava encostada numa árvore, tudo parecia fora do lugar. A mãe chegou correndo, ergueu Mariana, olhou-a bem nos olhos, houve muita conversa, nunca o rio Piau enchera tanto, os mais antigos se lembravam de 1864, mas agora fora pior, a ponte perto da casa de Dona Júlia desaparecera, os quintais que davam para o rio haviam todos sido estragados, galinhas e porcos sumiram, estavam talvez mortos, Padre Exupério queria fazer uma novena para afastar as calamidades do lugar, o casamento de Amelinha teria de ser adiado, a mulher de Seu Saó perdera o filho, diziam que o menino ia nascer dali a dias, e Mariana imaginava como podia alguém perder um filho antes de ele nascer, e era noite outra vez, a cozinha larga da casa de tio Inhaim estava cheia de gente, todos falavam da enchente e da viagem.
-Mas que idéia! Vocês vão mesmo?
A mulher mais velha olhava para as achas do fogão, via a filha que já tinha tantos filhos, punha mão contra mão, dizia a mesma coisa que vinha dizendo há muito tempo, e Mariana, a mais velha das netas, anos depois se lembraria do que a avó Catarina falara aquela noite, a pele preta enrugada ao redor dos lábios, os olhos com reflexos do fogo que esquentava o café.
-Tenho de voltar e quero levar minha filha e meus netos. Saí de lá faz mais de cinqüenta anos, foi meu tio que me vendeu. Eu morava em Abeokutá, fui passear em Lagos, meu tio já havia me vendido para uns homens, me levou até eles, eu tinha dezoito anos, queria tanto passear em Lagos, mas para que é que fui fazer isso? Nem bem cheguei já meu tio me entregou aos homens, me puseram num navio, depois de muito tempo cheguei à Bahia, fui vendida e nunca mais saí do Piau.
Tinha havido uma pausa. Parece que tinha havido uma pausa.
-Agora quero voltar. Não tem mais escravo aqui, tio Inhaim vai me ajudar, juntei um dinheirinho e arranjei mais algum com tudo quanto foi preto dessas fazendas todas aí ao redor. Agora quero voltar e levar minha filha, que já nasceu aqui, e meus netos.
-Mas como é que um grupo de mulheres e crianças pode ir sozinho daqui até lá?
Mariana dormira no colo da mãe, um calor gostoso vinha do fogão, a avó continuou a falar na viagem, depois ficou pensando, via o rio Piau cheio lembrava-se do rio Ogum, a canoa descera nas águas e ela sentira um afogueamento no rosto, os pingos de suor haviam caído na madeira do barco nem se voltara para olhar sua cidade pela última vez mas como iria saber que aquilo era despedida e quem sabe quando uma vez é a última? Revia o verde, o verde voltava mas era um verde meio lavado, verde naquela descida rumo a Lagos, o homem do barco segurava ramos de folhas na mão, havia verde no fundo junto com o molhado que lhe cercava os pés, fora uma alegria mexer os pés na água e a cada curva do rio o verde que a neta Mariana iria conhecer dentro de algum tempo erguia-se como um paredão à frente dela e um pedaço de sol nem sempre deixava que ela visse tudo o que existia além das margens.
Na manhã seguinte, grupos de crianças pegavam peixe a pau, a menina também foi, a água subia-lhe até o joelho, pedaço de pau na mão, era só perceber o salto do peixe e dar-lhe uma paulada que ele boiava logo, a irmã e o irmão não podiam vir, Emília tinha cinco anos, Antônio três, como iam se agüentar naquele atolado, os pedaços de capim-gordura e de rabo-de-burro subiam da água em linhas verdes que o ar agitava deixando rastros na correnteza. A enchente e a viagem ficariam sempre ligadas na lembrança de Mariana, uma aconteceu perto da outra e sinto que suas memórias anteriores se perderam, talvez porque a enchente e a viagem não permitam que além delas algo possa ter ainda força, e por mais que eu apele para suas recordações nada consegue varar a cortina formada pelas duas realidades da enchente e da viagem.
A enchente se engrossara de imagens, uma atrás da outra, todas nítidas, Mariana fora ver a ponte caída, o rio levara a base de tijolos que havia no centro e onde se apoiavam as traves de madeira, as águas batiam com violência no que restava dos tijolos, um boi morto viera descendo a correnteza e se prendera numa pedra, diziam que era preciso soltar o corpo do boi senão ia dar um mau cheiro horrível, crianças brincavam com pedaços da ponte destruída, faziam outras pontes de brincadeira sobre as enxurradas, o ar era de festa, como no mês de maio, barraquinhas na frente da igreja, as meninas coroando Nossa Senhora, a briga também fazia parte da enchente porque foi ao lado da ponte que Mariana viu os dois homens se agarrando como doidos, os pés levantando poeira do chão, gente gritando, levaram-na para longe que podia haver facada e morte, outra cena da enchente fora uma tropa de animais atravessando o rio a nado, eram vários burros e cavalos, o homem que ia na frente perdeu o chapéu que caiu no rio, os cavalos faziam barulho ao nadar e saíam pingando, muita gente ria, achava graça no chapéu que sumia, broas de milho muito boas eram distribuídas de noite quando os comentários sobre a enchente tornavam a embalar crianças.
(…).

_____________

Fonte: OLINTO, Antônio. A casa da água. 5ª ed. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1999. p. 13-16.

THE WATER HOUSE


Part I

The Journey


Antônio Olinto

I do not know how to come upon her at the beginning of my story – of her story – But I can see her, on that morning of the flood being dragged out of her bed and her sleep, hearing words the full sense of which she could not understand, knowing that there was danger and that they wanted to protect her – this is how I see Mariana beginning her adventure, being carried by someone, it was still not completely light, a little of the night still clung to everything like water, and the idea that the river was overflowing its banks frightened her, but at the same time the feeling that the shoulder her head was resting on was a safe shelter made her think of the flood more as an exciting event which could be enjoyed, at any rate now that the daylight which had come at last showed up the house, the stone side entrance, the steps surrounded by bushes, the little stream the children bathed in which ran down to the bigger stream below, the bamboo plantation rustling when the wind blew, the piau-fish jumping on the flooded river bank, the miraculously agile body of the fish suddenly immobilized by the blow of a stick. I place this awakening with the flood at the beginning of Mariana’s memories, and I have given much thought to how best I can tell what happened to her. I could have chosen the device of a separate narrator, removed from the events, but Mariana’s story is so much a part of me that it seems I can only pass it on by putting myself inside it and telling it as if I myself were, at every move, taking part in the scenes, hearing the words spoken and experiencing the emotions of the girl’s long journey. Because it is the story of a journey, and I am going to tell it starting from the morning when Mariana was pulled from her bed and taken out into the street, which was on a higher level than the house.
Suddenly she found herself on the ground. A man shouted:
‘Catch Dona Lelé! Catch Dona Lelé! The water is in her room already’.
Mariana looked at the church, it was dedicated to the Holy Ghost, she had been told so many times about the Holy Ghost, she thought that the picture on the high altar of the dove with its open wings was so pretty, once she had been almost certain that the bird had moved, when she talked about it to the others they had laughed, but as time went by she became even more certain that it had.
‘Who does the little girl belong to?’
‘Epifânia.’
When she heard her mother’s name spoken she began to look around for her, but the confusion had increased and she got up, went as far as the store on the corner, the store wasn’t there, it had collapsed during the night and some people were poking around in the ruins.
‘Anyone dead?’
‘No. By the time the house went, everyone had left.’
A cupboard which had fallen over was covered in bricks, pieces of cloth showed through holes in it, an iron bedstead was leaning up against a tree, everything seemed out of place. Her mother ran to her, picked her up, looked at her hard, there was a lot of talk, the River Piau had never risen so high, the old people could remember 1864, but this time it was worse, the bridge beside Dona Julia’s house had disappeared, the orchards alongside the river had been ruined, hens and pigs drowned, it was possible some people had died, Father Exuperio wanted to make a novena to avert disaster from the village, Amelinha’s wedding would have to be put off, Se Sao’s wife had lost her baby, they said it was to have been born in a few days’ time, and Mariana wondered how anyone could lose a baby even before it had been born, and it was night again, the wide kitchen in Uncle Inhaim’s house was full of people, everyone was talking about the flood and the journey.
‘What an idea – you aren’t really going?’
The old woman looked down at the logs in the stove, saw her daughter who already had so many children of her own, put her hands together, said again what she had said so many times before, and Mariana, the elder of the two granddaughters, was to remember years later what Granny Catarina had said that night, the black skin wrinkled round her lips, her eyes shining in the firelight as the coffee heated on the stove.
‘I must go back and I want to take my daughter and my grandchildren. I left there more than fifty years ago, my uncle sold me. I lived in Abeokuta, I went on a visit to Lagos, my uncle had already sold me to some men, he took me to them. I was eighteen, I wanted to go to Lagos so much, but why did I go? As soon as I arrived my uncle gave me to the men, they put me in a ship, after a long time I arrived in Bahia, I was sold and since then I have never left Piau.’
There was a pause. It seems there was a pause.
‘Now I want to go back. There are no more slaves here, Uncle Inhaim will help me, I have saved a bit of money and I have got a bit more from all the blacks on the plantations round here. Now I want to go back and take my daughter, who was born here, and my grandchildren.’
‘But how can a few women and children go by themselves all that way?’
Mariana had gone to sleep in her mother’s arms, a comfortable warmth came from the stove, her grandmother talked for a while about the journey, then stopped and thought, she saw the Piau brimming and remembered the River Ogun, the canoe had gone downstream and she had felt her face burning, drops of sweat had fallen on to the wood of the boat and she did not turn round to look at her home for the last time but how was she to know that that was goodbye and who knows when the last time comes? She saw the green again, the green came back but it was green half awash, green with green water, she felt as if she had seen nothing but green on that voyage down to Lagos, the boatman caught hold of leafy branches in his hand, there was green in the bottom of the boat in the water that washed over her feet, it had been a delight to move her feet in the water and at each bend in the river the green which her granddaughter Mariana was to know one day rose up like a great wall in front of her and shut out all but a glimpse of the sun so that she could see nothing beyond the banks of the river.
The next morning some of the children caught fish with sticks, the girl went too, the water came up to her knees, she had a piece of stick in her hand, you just had to watch for the fish jumping and hit it and it floated, her brother and sister couldn’t come, Emilia was five and Antônio was three, how could they have managed in all that mud, clumps of grass and reeds up out of the water in long green lines which the wind shook leaving ripples in the stream. The flood and the journey would always be linked in Mariana’s memory, one happened just after the other, and I feel that all her earlier memories had been lost, perhaps because the flood and the journey did not allow anything beyond themselves to have any power, and however much I call on her memories she cannot push aside the curtain made by the two realities of the flood and the journey.
The times of the flood was full of images, one after the other, all clear-cut, Mariana had been to see the bridge which had fallen down, the river had swept away the brick support in the middle where the wooden crossbeams rested, the waters broke violently against what was left of the bricks, a dead ox had been carried down the stream and had caught on a stone, they said the body of the ox would have to be freed otherwise there would be the most terrible smell, children played with bits of the wrecked bridge, they made toy bridges over the rivulets of flood-water that were running into the torrent, there was a feeling of holiday, like in May, little stalls in front of the church, the young girls crowning Our Lady, fighting was also part of the flood because it was just by the bridge that Mariana saw the two men going for each other like madmen, their feet raising up clouds of dust, people shouting, they moved them away because they had knives and there could have been a killing, another picture of the flood was a herd of animals swimming across the river, there were lots of donkeys and horses, the man who went ahead of them lost his hat and it fell into the river, the horses made a great noise swimming and came out streaming with water, some people laughed, they thought the hat disappearing was funny, delicious corn cakes were given out at night, and gossip about the flood lulled the children to sleep.
(…).

________________

Fonte: OLINTO, Antônio. The Water House. Translated by Dorothy Heapy. Rex Collings. London, 1970. p. 1-5



Voltar ao topo