The number of times I’ve lost between the sofa cushions my keys, the tv remote, a hair tie, coins, marbles…
A while back I was looking for my cell phone in every nook and cranny of my home when Elizabeth Bishop’s poem from the book “Rare and Commonplace Flowers” popped into my mind...and surprisingly I could hear my grandmother speaking to me.
I was stopped in my tracks. The combination between the poet and my grandmother stirred a powerful sense of deja vu. I was transported back to the sofa in my grandmothers Barcelona home, during which she would often recite these lines as she looked around for my toys:
That’s why everything my eyes were seeing on the pages of my new nook seemed so familiar! My blood had already been there. My grandmother was a Bishop fan!
With a spring in my step I searched for the box filled books I rescued from her library many years ago. Her most prized literature was kept in that box and I was sure I’d find Bishop in there.
I opened the box and made my way through the authors: Woolf, Dickens, Garcia Marquez… as I touched the spine of each book, images of my grandmother reading them hit me like a wave crashing on the beach. It was between those memories and the smell of old books that I found it. Bishop’s Geography III. There it was, waiting for me.
I took the book and gently traced the cover with my fingers. It was as if that globe and astrolabe were trying to tell me something. Slowly I opened the cover and flipped through its pages until I found it. One Art. I inhaled and read it aloud; my grandmother more present than ever. I smiled and hugged the book tight.
It was only when I opened my eyes again that I realised something had fallen from inside the pages. Two things lay on the ground and as soon as I saw them I knew I was facing something important.
I picked them up with utmost care, fearing they could break. A single page, crumpled up and worn away by the effects of time, was joined by a small instant photo of a bridge overpassing some rolling hills. Under the image, in the unmistakeable handwriting of my grandmother, was written: “Brazil, 1951”. Could it be…?
As if I were being puppeted by an invisible line, attracted by the most potent of magnets, I understood where the universe was imploring me to travel. Petropolis was waiting for me.