Visitors: 786

STORIES FROM PORTUGAL

Grandmother´s Dreams

I have eight grandchildren and they are always begging me to take them to Eurodisney. A few days ago, I dreamed that I took a flight to Paris with my grandchildren. It was high summer, the sky was blue and the rivers were full of people. We went down to Lisbon where we departed at 9.00 am. When we landed in Paris at noon, we hailed a cab to carry us to the Hotel. Shortly, we travelled around Paris a couple of hours and decided to get back to relax. Day after, we had breakfast and headed for Eurodisney. We got there about 10.00 am and my grandchildren were excited. After having gone in, we bumped into Micky Donald and Donald duck and the children were playing around for a while. Then, we went for a walk and tried to find Fantasyland because my granddaughter called Margarida, wanted to see Cindirella and Peter pan. After strolling half an hour, we saw Cindirella castle and Neverland in the distance and my grandchildren started getting impatient. When we arrived at fantasyland, both Cindirella and Peter Pan were performing a play. They were as happy as a clam and we were overflowing happiness. Afterwards, Margarida had the chance to fly with Peter pan and the others ran upstairs to the Cindirella castle. At the end of the day, my grandchildren were exhausted and we planned to take a rest at Disney Gardens as long as they had dinner. As soon as we got to the Hotel, we went to bed straight because the flight took off the next morning at 08.00 am. The alarm clock went off early and I thought that I had to go to work but fortunately, I had to rush to take the flight back to Lisbon. Finally, my dream had come true.

Margarida Barreto

 

A DAY IN MY LIFE.                                        

 Three weeks ago, I got out of bed at 9am, did the housework, took a shower, had breakfast and went to work as usual. When I arrived at the restaurant where I worked, to my great surprise I found Lousã city hall employees, GNR (Portuguese Police) and court officials at the entrance to the restaurant with an eviction order. During the subsequent inventory made by the police, the whole place was in chaos, and the city hall lawyer said that he had an eviction order against the company that owned the restaurant. However, this was for a previous company that hadn’t had any business dealings since late June.  The city hall lawyer was asked to show the eviction order but he couldn’t. He put forward a ridiculous argument and explained that he had been given verbal order by the judge. I was perplexed. In what democratic country can a business be shut down without a judicial order in writing? How is it possible to make redundant five people in the biggest financial crisis of the last century? Times are bad but this is ridiculous in the extreme.

In spite of the fact that I had nothing to do with what was going on, it was most humiliating to have to open my bag and have my personal items searched by court officials and solicitors.

In the end, I am upbeat but unemployed. I now have to look to the future. I am forty-five years old, I´m too young to retire and too old to find another job. At this moment, I am not entitled to claim income-based jobseekers allowance because I have not paid enough National Insurance contributions. Que sera sera….whatever will be will be the future´s not ours, to see…  Someone of position should answer. I feel sad and defeated.

 Alcina Rodrigues

 

Dream of snow

I’ve been having these dreams lately, dreams of him. When I fall asleep my mind drifts away and awakens in a white forest. Trees, that appear older than time itself, are covered with thick, white snow, as if they never knew what the coming of spring felt like. I find myself wandering and wandering aimlessly between them, feeling the snow caressing my feet, so cold and soft; it feels so comfortable against my skin.

It is then when I find him, in a clearing filled with small crystal-like flowers…

I don’t know who he is but his presence somehow calms my spirit. His face is long and sharp, protected by soft milky skin that combines so well with his serene blue eyes; his hair is long, almost touching the ground, and white like the snow around him. The only vestment he appears to be wearing is a large blue silky cape that hides completely the rest of his tall body.

When he notices my presence, he stands his hand to me, never changing his already handsome features and showing no emotion just like the eternal ice around me, it’s so scary and yet I can’t bring myself to deny it as I advance towards him and put my hand above his feeling his skin against mine. ‘So cold, so soft’ I think, not noticing the closeness of our bodies.

He puts his mouth against my ear and I can feel the warm that comes out from it, almost ticklish.

‘You should wake up’ he whispers so softly

At first I don’t understand what he meant, but everything becomes clear after I wake up suddenly underneath the blankets of my bed and turn off the alarming clock, knowing so well that a new day is starting.

*

Every day is the same, dreaming, waking up, go to work, get home and sleep. The sequence keeps repeating and repeating, it becomes so boring that I almost forget that Christmas season is already beginning. Again it will be another snowless Christmas spent working till late.

“Did you know? There’s a serial killer on the loose!” one girl started “I heard it on the news today he goes after women but only strikes on Christmas time”

“Oh, I remember hearing something like that on the radio” confirmed the other one “And it seems police has no clues about him. We should be careful when we go home”

I can’t understand what their talking about since they are a bit far from my desk, I manage to catch a few words like ‘killer’ and ‘Christmas’ but they make no sense so I quickly focus my mind on the work thinking they were just gossiping about someone else’s life, as they usually do.

*

But later I found that I should have paid more attention to my surroundings or to their gossips as I now find myself trapped in an alley, with the serial killer they mentioned, and with no were to run. His hand violently grabs my arm and even summoning all my strength it’s impossible to get away from his grasp. But everything stops when I feel something warm running down my body. My mouth is filled with a salty taste of metal and I finally understand what it is, by looking down on the floor, now painted with the color red. He stabbed me on the belly with a knife, if it wasn’t so cold I would probably be in so much pain.

I hit the ground as I start to lose control over my body, the blood doesn’t stop coming even if I try to cover up the wound. The killer is not satisfied with the first strike an rises the knife up in the sky, going for the death blow. And I close my eyes waiting for it…

But it never came.

I open then, my vision already blurry, and see the killer unconscious on the floor and a new arrived man with blue eyes and long white hair.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t managed to be here on time” that voice, so soft and cold, I recognize it from my dream, but it can’t be real. He approaches my almost numb body and puts cautiously his hand over the wound “you should rest, help will be here soon”

Like always I trust those words and I slowly drift away to sleep, missing the arrival of the sirens and the flashing red lights.

*

It has been a 2 days since the attack. The police had arrested the killer while the doctors quickly took care of me. They said I was quite lucky because when I first arrived to the hospital the wound had stopped bleeding and everything it needed was a few stiches and a blood-transfusion.

I don’t have many memories of that day and even after talking to some cops, which came to ask me questions, about you the answer was always the same, ‘There was no one there except you and the killer’. Maybe I had imagine it all?

*

I woke up, knowing so well that today not only is my last day in the hospital but is also Christmas. When I look outside the window I scratch both my eyes to see if they’re not playing jokes on me, but in vain as it continuous to snow outside on the street also coated in white. I’m breathless, completely taken by surprise, it hadn’t snowed in so many years…and yet it was snowing so freely…

But it is when I notice a glass vase near the window that my eyes start pouring down warm tears, tears of happiness, inside of it there was a bouquet of crystal-like flowers, the same one from my dream, with a card in which was written:

‘Merry Christmas, we will meet again someday.’

I can stop my tears and I can’t stop smiling. I will trust those words, I will wait for you.

“Merry Christmas, and thank you” it is all I can say, but there is no need to add more words.

The end

Sofia Raquel Alves Rodrigues

 

SEARCHING FOR WATER


Years ago, in the north of Portugal, there was a very humble family which consisted of a couple of a certain age with three grandchildren.
The householder was a man who did everything for his welfare, that it is, he was versatile.
As he had no drinking water at home, one day he decided to look for it on their land. He began by arranging a poplar stick and walked slowly by holding the rod ends forming a half-moon. When he felt vibration in it, he marked the spot and started to dig ...
He tried again and again, sometimes he had no luck because the ground was so soft that would eventually give in or he would hit on rocks.  He never gave up his job with the grandchildren...
While he was digging the mine the grandchildren pulled the earth into wooden crates and put rings made of cement so the soil did not budge.
When he saw that he had found a vein of water with enough force, he began to put it running through plastic tubes and took it into a deposit made of cement also built by him.
From there on he divided it for watering the gardens and fields, and finally open the faucet of home when needed.

 Isabel Salgado