Laura looked at the cake shelf. Eating one or two was indifferent; she had only eaten three for breakfast. The Berliners with their yellow cream were asking the girl to be eaten. She called the waitress.
– Two Berliners and a coke, please.
– Of course.
With the tray in hand the waitress brought the continuance of Laura’s tea. Her eyes gleamed with joy. She opened her mouth and stuck her teeth deep in one of the cakes. Her lips were covered with sugar. She licked them, cleaned them to a tissue and sipped her coke.
She noticed a couple sitting next to her and observing her as if contemplating a work of art or even a freak of nature. Laura was used to be looked at in a different manner. Her one hundred and twelve kilograms worked as an attraction to the eyes all around. As the years went by the eyes started not to bother her . She even used to joke with the subject or ask “What? Haven’t you ever seen a fat girl before?” Then she would laugh at their faces. She used to think that she was fat but cheerful.
Annoyed by the stare, she told the couple:
– What? Haven’t seen it before? – and laughed at their faces.
Already grabbing the second Berliner, she noticed a group of three youths hanging around in the street. One was eating an apple. Passing by a rubbish bin the girl threw half apple into it.
Cheesy girl… – thought Laura – with a body like that and only eats half an apple… she could get fatter, stupid. That’s why she has got her sick looks and the skinny legs.
Without understanding why, Laura was invaded by a sudden sadness. She became aware that she had no friends, which forced her to talk to herself, to create imaginary characters in order to have someone to let off some steam . She would like to have friends, to be able to walk with them, go to discos, talk about boys and so. After all she was just a twenty-three-year-old girl, with just some extra kilograms.
She was fed up with listening to her father tell her to take care of what she ate, that she could have a stroke. Worse than that was her mother’s indifference, as if she had given up scolding her.
Laura would like to get a boyfriend. She would buy magazines and start to imagine her own prince charming. Although she knew it was difficult, she kept her dream of finding a man to love her as she is. She wanted to get married. She was bored of secretly having sex with the condominium administrator in her building. She could only do it secretly, quickly and always afraid that his wife could show up. She was fed up with having sex at storages and garages. She deserved better. Furthermore, he was nearly thirty years older than her and a friend of her father’s.
She was fed up with the way people looked at her. She felt badly. Despite all her glossing over and the jokes, she reckoned nobody took her for a human being. Just the fat one. Even Mr José didn’t give her the deserved value. He just looked for her in heat. She decided to change her life, to make herself be respected, be valued as a person, not as “the fat one”.
– Please… – she called the waitress – a coffee and two Belém cakes. And the check, please.
After paying, she took her coffee and was preparing herself to stick her teeth into the first piece of pastry, she noticed a beggar on the street. She stopped and stared at the man with white beard and dirty face, tanned by frost and heat imposed by the streets. Passing by the rubbish bin, the man took the half apple left there and started eating it as if it were the most sublime meal of the gods. Laura thought “the skinny one shared her apple with this man”…
She felt a heavy conscience. She considered that things don’t happen by hazard. She felt badly for not remembering having shared something with someone. She lost her appetite, although the Belém cakes looked wonderfully.
“I must share” – Laura thought.
Leaving the pastry on the dish, she grabbed her purse and off she went.
“I’ll see what Mr José is doing” – she thought.
Photo: Sérgio Moreira
Text: Adão Baptista