Room 106

It cooed a senseless coo and adjusted its wings, which made that little noise of pages rubbing against each other―a sound that had no name or verb attributed to it yet. The claws of the pigeon showed deformities. Good heavens, those large beads did not allow it to walk correctly during its little existence as a fully grown being ripped from life, isolated from the order of the universe. A pigeon that strolls the sidewalks and squares of the city, leaving the landscape grayer and cooing at each step we take, like a legitimate pigeon that takes pleasure in interrupting others.

I walked down the lobby of the hotel where I had spent the night. There was a couch full of men working on their notebooks, while other men were standing around wearing slippers and shorts and holding a can of beer―all of them looked like they followed other people's steps and made company to unaccompanied women.

The hotel's sinister elevator was at the end of the lobby. For a girl who's by herself and not interested, the elevator of a hotel full of men sitting on couches is always something sinister, especially if they are older―I mean, the elevator, the couch, and the men.

I carried some flavored chips―olive oil and herbs, I can't remember―as well as juice, cake, candy, a credit/debit card deep in my pocket, some fear deep in my pants, and was coming back from a convenience store, the only one around that bleak tropical city of Paraty. When I was walking down the street, a car passed by and the men inside yelled, “Come here, hottie!” I walked faster and reflected on each clothing item I was wearing that night, but failed to understand why they had shouted “hottie” at me as I walked up the steps towards disappointment.

I had a hard time finding my room, since there were no signs on the door. I was beside myself already because they had made me pay for the room in advance. I had to risk being robbed at an ATM because I was $50 short. Then I squinted and saw “106” written in pencil on the door. I put the key in the lock, turned it around, and the door opened.

In bed, I had scattered some plastic bags, a beach hat with a large flap, a magazine and a map. I tried to make some room, since I needed to eat. I tore the packages, the salty items first, which were wonderful to eat and chew on. But, between one sound and another, I heard something that at first sounded like moaning.

Turning on the TV was crucial at that moment, since there was no chance I'd sit there and digest whatever that was while listening to a pigeon cooing. A Sunday talking head with a pigeon chest appeared, so I changed the image on the screen with swift fingers to halt the misfortune, appease karma. New vibrations. I answered the cell phone at the frequency of disappointment. It was too much female hormone to have that kind of conversation over a technological device. Nature is relentless and furious, so who would dare to face it and challenge it with little inventions of a modern, prim man lacking funds and with the soul of a salesman.

The levees of uneasiness had been raised, Paraty was invaded by giant waves, there was no History Museum anymore, no little church, ferry boat, soft sand, posters for the impending World Cup, blue skies, white clouds and a smiley sun, pure beauty, or the sound of “sh” on the local accent. We absentmindedly hung up.

The only thing left for me was the relief of the moment, the flood that came from above. On the other side of the bathroom window, wings were adjusted and made that little noise of pages rubbing against each other. On the window, the pigeon left its mark of disorder: a physiological watercolor with shades of green, white, black, gray, and a touch of blue.

CRISTINA JUDAR is a writer and journalist from São Paulo. She completed her post-graduation studies in Cultural Journalism and collaborates with several publications, including Revista da Cultura [Culture Magazine.]

Her first book, “Lina,” came out in 2009 and was one of the recipients of the Cultural Action Grant in the Graphic Novel category, awarded by the State Secretary of Culture in São Paulo. 

In 2011, she published her second book, Vermelho, Vivo [Red, Live], which also received the Cultural Action Grant. Her latest book, Roteiros para uma vida curta [Scripts for a Short Life] received an honorable mention at the 2014 SESC Literary Awards.

Cristina also writes Luminescências nas Pickups [Luminescence on Pickups,] a blog dedicated to fiction, and one of her stories Quatro [Four] was selected to be included in a project called Inverna: Ficção gráfica brasileira de autoria feminina [Wintery: Brazilian Graphic Fiction by Women.]

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