Attends Santa Maria

Fabio Scherer

© Copyright 2018 by Fabio Scherer

Photo of the town of Santa Maria.

That was a few years ago. I was only 10 reais in the portfolio. I was in Novo Hamburgo. But I was bored. I took a bus to gate, a distant town about 18 kilometers in the west. This cost me about two real. I spent all eight remaining real in a snack bar of a gas station on the road. It was late at night, I was tired, broke and if he wanted to go home, have to walk 18 kilometers. Then spent the night at the gas station, the station Hoff, who never closed. I slept on a wooden bench. If I had car, would not all this sacrifice, but I did not. The morning I decided to continue the journey, always westward. On foot.

Following the edge of the RS-240 highway, I got a ride in a small tractor few kilometers ahead. Even a bit of money gave me. In Pareci Velho locality scared when a vehicle of the state highway patrol passed me. But it was only a scare. Did not stop. I had nothing to fear, but I felt I was beginning to attract attention. I spent the night sleeping on the bench in a square in the city of Montenegro. I bought a peanut package and a yogurt with the money they had earned. And moved on. I slept on a bus stop the next night. I remember having crossed a bridge over the River Fall, before the city of Venancio Aires. That bridge gave me fear. And kept walking. Sometimes asking food in any home or market. Earned coffee, orange juice, water, bread, meat and bananas. How they like to give bananas. I attended a Mass in a town on Sunday morning.

A police car stopped in front of me, around noon, in a part of completely deserted road. Delayed! The officer got out and addressed me.

I gave him my identity card, which was in my pocket, and he returned the car. He said something on the radio and told my data. Soon returned then returning me my document and wishing good trip. In Santa Cruz slept under some taquaras. I spent the night with rain at a gas station near the town of Candelaria. The owner of the station had a pig and a rabbit. The two were allowed and stood next to the station, loose. It was very funny to watch. For those hours my feet were starting to become swollen. I was gonna give to find a place to be able to stretch their legs. He had traveled more than 180 kilometers. I was with my phone, but the battery was discharged. No one who knew me knew where I was. After hours trying to ride, I got one with a van. It was a local company and the driver took mate and talking on mobile phone while driving. It made me close to a very small and very beautiful town called Paradise South. The city was flat and looking at the horizon, you saw the background the forested mountains. I decided to explore a little town. The streets were wide and there were no tall buildings. I passed a law firm and from there came a woman who was looking at me. Watched a little further and saw what appearedbe a known of my city. I could have stopped and approached to see if she really was, Kity, Christian's sister, childhood friends, whom she had not seen for decades. Even if she were certainly help me and it could be that it really was. But not stopped. Not approached me, I kept walking. I was embarrassed. I was a rag. And hunger crazy. Once you get access my e-mail on a computer of the public library, I returned to the highway and in a great roud side restaurant, got lunch, courtesy of the house. Even they gave me juice. No wonder they call this city of Paradise.

I was trying to ride for some time, the petrol station which was right next the restaurant. Until it stopped a cart to transport livestock. I spoke to the driver and told me to go through Santa Maria. At last! During the trip he told me he lived in Novo Hamburgo as well. A bridge had fallen days before, but after the way away, left me in the kneecap of the Federal University of Santa Maria, in Camobi neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon. I'd been on tour University years ago. But he had gone by bus and with money in your pocket.

Walked about 300 meters to the entrance of the university, but did not go. I later learned what had happened right in front of the house of the brother of a neighbor of Novo Hamburgo. Months before I had signed up for the exam from agronomy to this same university. My evidence would be early next year in Porto Alegre, close to Novo Hamburgo. I decided to walk to the center of Santa Maria, 9 km away. Santa Maria is a university town, called town culture, with more than 200,000 inhabitants, many army barracks and Brazilian aeronautics and located right in the center of the Rio Grande do Sul state, in an agricultural region. But had little success in the central area of Santa Maria. About the only positive thing we did, it was make it to the Catholic Church of St. Ivo, patron of justice. Still I found the church closed, because it was almost dusk. I made the sign of the cross and walked away. I had to pass a bad night on the road and could not help almost anyone, something that made me very angry. But it seemedbe a sure harbinger of the tragedy that was to happen in the city, weeks later.

I threw in the towel. I had to go back. I remember pick up a busload of students in the morning, but can not remember if they gave meride or if I had money to pay the ticket. I landed near this same kneecap where the truck had left me before. I got something to eat at a bakery, something that could not since I went to the central area of Santa Maria. My luck had returned. But I was finished. I needed a shower, clean clothes and my bed. It was 280 km away. And me without a real pocket. I would have to try a ride again. And if he could not? Hardly stand it anymore standing. I do not know who informed and showed me a cross, near the university, where students use hitchhike. As I moved there, I came the memory of people hitchhiking with a sign with your destination written, which I had never done. Once arrived at the said intersection, I noticed that there was near a small business. I went and saw they were bagging corn. I explained what I wanted to do and brought me joy with a piece of cardboard and a marker. Just wrote "Novo Hamburgo" quite large, returned the magic marker, I thanked them kindly and went to the side of the road. I raised the poster made lamp box and incredibly, almost the same moment, hillside a taxi.

Of course I accepted, because Porto Alegre is close to Novo Hamburgo. A few hours later Ijump the taxi in Canoas, which lies between Porto Alegre and Novo Hamburgo. From there I managed to catch a train, because I had some vouchers transport stored in the wallet. In just over an hour I was already home. Days later, end of 2012, in the center of New Hamburg and with some extra kilos, I hitchhiked to taxi a friend. He did not deny the ride, but I asked, already with me in the car:

At the beginning of January 2013, I managed to perform only one test in Porto Alegre vestibular Federal University of Santa Maria. How did the other evidence, I lost my job. By this time also held a blood donation in the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital. On the 27th of the same month, around noon on a Sunday, as soon as I arrived at a friends house in Novo Hamburgo, he asked me:

It was the fire of Kiss nightclub. I never have been there, but it was quite possible that had passed right in front because it was in the center of Santa Maria. I remembered at the time, of how bad I felt when he had been there weeks ago. Was he feeling? Many victims had to be taken to the Santa Casa de Porto Alegre to receive blood, for the hospitals of Santa Maria were crowded. It may even be that the blood I had previously donated have saved the lives of these people. Gave to have a clearer idea of the scale of the tragedy, when I heard on the radio that Lady Gaga had posted on his twitter their feelings for the victims of the disaster in Brazil. 680 people were injured. 242 lost their lives. I never went back to Santa Maria and now I'm paying the consortium of a motorcycle. And I signed up for a travel magazine.

Fábio lives in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil.  He wrote "The Cat without a Name," a fable, and  "A model of Bento," a short story.  He works in the real estate market.

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