I have been learning Portuguese for almost five months now. Interest in this language is not sudden. It dates from the early 2000s, that time of all new Internet contacts, during which I met the invigorating Vinicius who inspired me Les Années-rebours and which also gave Falaise its first inspiring impulses. And this interest has naturally turned into determination since my trip to Lisbon, where I was finally able to meet my little Brazilian living in Portugal, whom I had known six months earlier, still thanks to the Internet, the great cauldron of communications and passions.
Since then, I have been communicating a lot with one-day correspondents thanks to another little wonder of application, HelloTalk, which promotes linguistic exchanges. I write to you in Portuguese, you correct me, you write to me in French, I correct you and vice versa. In doing so, learning accelerates as immersion, even at a distance, quickly confronts learning.
Again, as in real life, by dint of meeting people, we end up finding a few rare pearls, beings with whom conversations dig a little deeper into the ground of life. Most of these correspondents are young. I have this crazy little medical student, barely 20 years old, who, from his northern Brazil, asks me all kinds of questions about beautiful Canada. I have this other one, in the south to whom I give encouragement and flattery, this other one, also a military man happy to be with the most beautiful woman in the world, or this one who wants to become a diplomat. Finally, there is this one, pleasantly sweet, who sings like a troubadour, who has his whole life ahead of him. It will be pointed out to me that there are not many girls in this batch and I would answer that it is not by trying so hard.
Anyway, I am in almost daily contact with Brazil and, in barely five months, I can understand written Portuguese, begins to stammer bits of conversation (because you can exchange by recording interposed with HelloTalk). This contact is mainly with these young people, who could be my sons. Some are gay, some are not. Many go to Mass because this country is still very much rooted in the divine roots.
My Brazilian love from Portugal is barely older, 32 years old. I can already guess in people’s minds a little corner thought. The old man’s buying young kids? In reality, the old man who doesn’t look that old isn’t here to flirt. The young people come to him and he is delighted even if, and this is the purpose of this text, it moves him a little, a lot. The old man certainly feels a bit old, especially these days, because he works too hard and is tired. But the old man is not yet old. He listens to the backwash of living water that comes up against his existence. It’s not really intoxicating, more of a bitter melody in which rhythms and chords intertwine in total indifference.
Everything becomes grey when you mix genres, old and young. I would, of course, like to still be that age, just because it would give me a chance to see other suns. I know full well that there is no point in clinging to the water of youth. It only exists to pass.
Youth can’t teach me anything since I’m my own teacher. Time teaches us that. However, I have everything to gain from being around youth as grandparents stick to these newborns being introduced to them. But I know that the agreements are irreconcilable.
For if Youth knew, they would invariably turn away from this knowledge. It is his nature not to know. If Old age could, I am not sure she would do it any other way, because it will also know that there is only one fountain, that the water either goes back into its tank or that it lets itself be transported, evaporated and transformed by its Zeus.
Ignorance is another muse, perhaps the only one that counts, a sex organ, an almost deleterious flavor and that intoxicates us. Besides, I can still, I’m not that old yet. I am now nowhere. I’m not at a crossroads or at the end of a path. These young people are there to remind me and I am there to tell them not to take care of me. They don’t give a shit about certainty. Can I just tell them to be careful when they travel? Life is a warm body, the mind a cold, dictatorial desire.
Youth is as beautiful as an ara. My eyes as greedy as those of a century-old swallowing his last breath of air.