What about me?
As soon as Roberto hung the phone, he ran out of the office. He jumped into the car and went to meet his son. That call could even have ended that man’s life. He didn’t mind the traffic. He couldn’t see anything at the moment, just a straight line leading to Hospital Santa Maria. The traffic light was red but it didn’t get to make him slow down because he still had some ten kilometres ahead. He just ignored it and went through.
Arriving at the site, he parked on a zebra crosswalk. He jumped out of the car and went to the emergency information desk.
– I’d like to know about a young man who checked in. He had an accident…
– Name, please! – said the clerk.
– Roberto Vieira.
– No one with that name checked in here….
– No, that’s my name!
– Patient’s name, please.
– Filipe Vieira… he is my son.
– Here he is. He came in an ambulance. Wait a moment, please. Someone will come for you.
Roberto waited. Twenty minutes after a medic help came from the hall.
Filipe Vieira’s family member… – Roberto ran to her.
– Tell me doctor, is my son OK?
– I am no doctor. Wait here. A doctor will come here to talk to you.
Roberto started to despair. In his job as a lawyer he didn’t get so many “wait here”. Each waiting moment lasted an eternity.
– Are you family to Filipe Vieira? – asked a young man in white coat with a stethoscope hanging around the neck.
– Yes, I am the father, doctor… is he OK?
– Come with me, please!
With fast steps, he went after the young doctor. As he was walking, his mind was showing him images of his son with disfigured face, open fractures… fearful images.
He came into the room with his heart pumping so quickly that almost burst out of the chest. He was astonished when he looked at his son.
– Hey, dad! Are you here? What did you come for? – asked Filipe.
– But… they called from school to my office telling you had had an accident!
– Yeah, I fainted and then I threw up. Quite an accident! – the young man laughed. Roberto didn’t understand what had happened.
– Was it something he ate at school, doctor? – the man asked the doctor that was present.
– I don’t think so – the doctor answered with a sarcastic smile. – It was really something he drank and smoked! If it was at school, only he can say! You can take him with you, because I have already released him.
Seeing the shame on Roberto’s face, the doctor explained:
– He drank alcohol and must have smoked grass, or weed as they call it. He must have exaggerated and started hallucinating, he had a convulsion and started vomiting. He was dehydrated and ended up fainting. He has been taking some saline and will soon recover. Don’t worry.
– What have you done, Filipe Luís? – he asked desperately.
– Hey, come on! Take it easy, man… it was just a bad trip, you know! – The young man laughed again.
– Are you insane? What will your mother think? What will I say at the office when my workmates get to know about this?
– You see?… That’s your only worry… what will they think… what will I say… what about me, dad? What about me? Don’t you want to know why I did this? Don’t you worry to know if I am OK? How long did you stop worrying about me?
– I work as a slave for you to have everything… – Filipe interrupted his father.
That is exactly the problem, dad! You work for me to have everything and I don’t have anything, you know? Anything!
When he understood his authoritarian speech wasn’t having a good result, Roberto took a deep breath, loosened his tie and sat at the bed where Filipe was lying. He looked at the son. The young man’s bloodshot eyes, half-opened, worked as an alert for his father and he understood something was very wrong. It was a call for help.
– Tell me what’s happened.
– It doesn’t work that way! You can’t come and ask me to tell you… – Filipe started crying. The tears that ran down his cheeks alerted the father and took the cover of a tough lawyer down. The same cover that tried to understand what was going on.
– It’s Júlia, dad… – the boy said.
– Who is… sorry, go on!
– It is a girl from school. I have been crazy for her since last year. Some days, she notices me, some days she ignores me completely and even mocks me. I don’t know what to do. I do her homework sometimes, I give her money, so that she can buy cakes and some soda at the bar and she…
– Oh, son. That’s not how…
– You know, for more than a year, I do it and always pamper her doing her stuff. It is I who goes to Casal Ventoso to get her drugs and all that but she doesn’t like me anyway, I have no value for her. She only comes to me when she needs something or she is broke, without money. – he cried uncontrolledly for some seconds. – Life is shit! She never kissed me on the face and today she was behind the building kissing some guys…
Roberto caressed his son’s head, feeling his hair.
– Calm down, Pipinho. Everything will be OK! – he tried.
– Do you think, dad?
– Of course! Is that girl worth all your suffering? Come on, come with me to the car and we will have lunch together. I won’t go back to the office today. Today I will walk and talk with my son. Come on, my car is in front of the entry.
When they arrived at the place where the car was, they saw the police towing his car because it was parked on a zebra crosswalk.
They both laughed out loud.
Photo: Sérgio Moreira
Text: Adão Baptista