Alien land

The cold dolma at the counter of the improvised Turkish bar at the fair. Children running amidst the tables, veiled girls sporting gloss on their lips and pink nails tapping on hyperactive phones. Fifteen-year old Arab queens. Hot tea creating moist on the glass, awakening the ice-cold fingers one by one. Memory, too, awakens when least expected — just like warm water over skin, only a few seconds may lie between relief and pain.

Mirror fragments behind the bar counter are suddenly united, reflecting the strange image of a look I do not recognise, a look that does not recognise me. I leave €2.50 and go out. On the other side of the street, I am attracted by earthly red saffron and couscous on the stand of the girl in a green scarf who smells of cumin. Incense — I do not know the smell, but I know it — the feeling follows me through the fair in every look, in every step within this labyrinth of colour and taste, in every new word I do not understand. Dark eyes which find me strange and cannot read me. I come from myself, what about you, are you from here? Is the city already yours or is already impossible to distinguish the two of you? Home, native land. Postcards without sending addresses. Without a receiving address, a date. Without sense.

[People do not move outside the fair, stuck to their coats.]

*Woher kommen Sie?*, the question I never grasp. I stutter and try, in the seconds that last centuries, to find out what is the best place for me to come from at that moment. Or from where I feel like I come from, at this one.

(Translated by Pedro Sette-Câmara)

Written by

Escritora, pesquisadora, um pé no Rio o outro em Lisboa. Autora de "Qualquer areia é terra firme"(7Letras, 2015, romance) e "Furta-cores"(7Letras, 2012, contos)

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