I recently went back to the first post (well, almost the first) I wrote for this blog in April of last year. I was taken aback by the voice that comes through, so clearly mine, yet different, like that of a much younger me. I can hear the energy, curiosity, and eagerness that went along with going on new adventures, like having my own blog and writing creatively in English. In the posts of the month of May I sense some concern too as the move to Portugal approaches. Sixteen months later I am still in Portugal, pushing through the terrain of my father’s condition and the country’s financial decline – unfamiliar landscapes I was only half-prepared for.
I am grateful every single day for the beauty of the Porto sea shore and hand-painted boats (bright reds, blues, yellows); the narrow streets and carved granite walls; and the evening lights slowly covering the steep river banks. I love the filled restaurants, the packed theaters, the fabulous Music House. What I had not foreseen was the rawness of watching my father recede like a figure walking backwards into a blurred horizon. Or the quickly approaching death of my dear friend, Maria José, whose hand I hold as often and as long as I can, and as tightly as she can take it. Or the death a few weeks days ago of another dear friend, Isabel, who gathered those she loved dearly for a last meal before they could recover from the news of her diagnosis, and then left, quietly, in the early hours of the following day. I imagine the vineyard valley around her home sent out a sigh; she loved it so.
From the margins I had chosen for myself, which you find in the title and at the heart of this blog, I have been thrown into the eye of the storm. I feel less prepared than ever for the journey ahead for I am reminded that no amount of gear, ropes, or padded clothing can shield one from such falls.
‘Write, write,’ wrote Isabel in this blog, on my facebook wall, in private e-mails. She knew I was hesitant; I watched the waves, longed to dive in, but was so afraid. ‘Don’t give up,’ she wrote. Then she fell ill and left … and pushed me in.
I hope you understand why it is time to give this blog some rest and swim into deeper waters, write a longer work. At least for now, as Cathy Kozak once said, it is ‘over and out.’
A huge, warm ‘Thank You’ to all of you who read my posts, commented, and e-mailed. You are always welcome here. I hope we’ll meet again in a book or a collection of stories in a future I wish not too distant.