The child and the eternal traveller • Geizi Carla dos Santos

On the carpet in the small room, leaning over a white sheet of paper, she held a handful of coloured pencils. There was a question that needed to be solved as soon as possible: what colour will the next drawing be? For a few minutes, the doubt between blue, green or yellow permeated the shy child’s mind. What might seem insignificant to many, to her was crucial, as the colour chosen would transform the still empty paper.

Blue forms the sea, the rivers, the sky. Green begins to bring life to trees and perhaps some birds. Yellow invents balls, flowers or even people. Difficult decision for a seven-year-old who creates a universe through drawings and lives in a world where her few simple words are neither heard nor understood. And writing, which is still under development, doesn’t allow you to put down everything you feel on paper. What was left for her was to draw all that!

The choice of colour is important and the long minutes to decide what the future of that blank sheet will be reflect this feeling.

Blue is the choice for now. She wants to endeavour achieving the unknown.

With steady hands, she begins to create what the sea would be, though she had not seen it before. He had heard it was blue when people narrated the details of the sea. An image lingered in her mind when one day she was told that the blue of the waters met the blue of the sky, and that at the end of the sea the colours mingled. That was when the sky and the sea seemed to be the same thing. Also, when she learned that the beach sand was clear, she set aside the vibrant colours that were nearby and sought at the bottom of her pencil case the colour that would paint the sand of her own beach. She chose a shade of beige and went on exploring every corner of her imagination, drawing details of what might be a desert island. And the drawing, which previously had no form, began to fill in the blanks. The hands no longer had doubts about the right palette of colours and so the child, immersed in her world, decided that on the beach sand the coconut trees should appear, as she had already seen coconut trees on television. And, only after drawing the trunk of this tree, green comes to give life to those leaves.

She went on to draw scenarios still unknown in her own way, and she did so with confidence that fate took care of the rest.

Passenger feet, backpacks, a life in a suitcase and the whole world being travelled. The sea to embrace, the sand of the beach to step on, and the hands that once drew imaginary scenarios began to touch every corner of the planet. Journeys… Her existence became an eternal crossing full of discoveries.

New cultures, new perspectives, tastes, lovers and an eternal longing – that’s how travellers lived! When visiting new scenarios, they recognise the places once drew on the floor of a room. Although they had set aside the dilemmas about imaginary colours or designs, they lived the eternal question: what is the next destination? They have crossed the world, but in their hearts always lacked a carpet on the living room floor to fly through those pages that would be filled with unknown scenarios – yet to be drawn.

And so travellers lived: covering the blank pages of life with other trips, in different landscapes. They all carried within themselves a shy and curious child who longs to know new places and, at each destination, is enchanted with the beauties she once drew without even knowing.

Geizi Carla dos Santos, brazilian author of the Ebook “My Friend Alice” and Blog Racha Cuca (a space where I dare to share some words that have not yet been deleted). I have learned to live with books, poems and words scattered across a computer screen, written on the skin, but I still learn to live with the human. I confess that I keep trying and, until I reach the goal, I venture between written and unspoken words, published and deleted. Read and unread. I take this risk between them daily.

[This short-story was published in our first issue • “Connections Brazil & Ireland” • in Dec 2020]

Translation by Paola Benevides.

Cover art: Acrylic on canvas, by Rachel Caiano.