Amid the rat race, life does offer us good moments. They feel like oasis in the desert big cities can be.

Not long ago, I was the lucky one to receive a compliment, or to be conducted to a refuge where I could relax, breath, and regain energy to get back to my routine. It was right after evoking all my positive thoughts to find a spot where I could park my car, downtown Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais, in Brazil. As if it were waiting for the right moment, when I stepped out of the car, my cellphone buzzed. To my surprise, on the other end the voice of a friend from those golden years when we didn’t have a phone in our bags, very enthusiastic, called out my name, in syllables, so he made sure to fill my ear with the joy of hearing my name from his lips again: “A – na! Lu – i – za!”

In my mind, I could only say a timid “oh yes, I am Ana Luiza” and he continued on how we should get together, and how he missed our conversations, and how we had to have coffee, or maybe dinner, or breakfast, okay… Let’s have lunch.

That was my cue; I spoke: “Sounds like a date! I’ll pick you up, tomorrow, at your hotel”.

At that point I was already updated and knew all about the years we haven’t seen each other. He knew nothing about me. Not even that I had planed to use my lunch hours, the following day, to work on a last minute translation I was asked. Or maybe he was sure, in case I had work, I would rearrange my schedule and meet my deadline before lunch time.

That was exactly what I did, and on that warm, sunny Friday, my friend and I enjoyed lunch together.

It was a blast!

After long time and no see there were so many stories to share we were chatter boxes while the food went cold. What made the accounts amusing and interesting was the fact that we had only a couple of hours to tell them all. We had to be precise on (1)who were the characters, (2)what were the incidents, (3)where the story took place, (4)when everything happened, (5)why things happened the way they did, and of course, we had to know the (6) reason why we were telling one thing and not the other — you know, when you have little space you must know what you use it for; and, not least, you should know (7)how to tell what you are about to speak out.

Terror, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, and even comedy were in our line. We particularly burst out laughing when my friend decides to ask me: “So, Ana, what have you been up to? How’s professional life coming along?”

Neither the question, nor the answer would be funny had Adrian understood my reply. And to his “Oh! Now you are a Communist?” we laughed so hard because all I said was I am a columnist.

I am no Communist, no Socialist, no… There’s no -ist involved in my work. I am a writer regularly contributing to an e-magazine called Rio Total with stories about the daily life of people. After that, saying I’m a blogger, a novelist, and a translator, was not comical, but a serious deal. Well, and when I told my friend I write about different topics such as gender and social issues, and literature, we got pretty serious and focused on that. Especially when Adrian learned I am dedicated to respecting the diversity of human kind by creating different characters, and stories which depict the reality of real people around the world. My friend then shared with me the joy of having my novel written, ready to be published and to speak out against prejudice.

That was, no doubt, a moment to remember. I left the restaurant with this involuntary smile and with hopes of getting back to an oasis like that every now and then; after all, quoting João Guimarães Rosa (★1908 ✝1967 — Minas Gerais, Brazil), and in my own translation, “we find happiness in little moments of unawareness”.

Ana Luiza Libânio is a writer and translator in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.

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