A mean streak?

I must have been a truly mean girl or simply a child that was bored out of her wits. Your call. But one given April Fool’s I lied to my father that his father, Vô João, had died just to see his reaction. The minute I looked in my father’s eyes, I knew I had trespassed. I immediately told him that it was an April’s Fool “joke”. My Dad was not amused and probably a bit concerned with my lack of discernment. It still puzzles me to think how I failed to recognize
the atrocity of my prank.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon I came up with another crazy idea – I staged my own drowning in our swimming pool. I directed the whole performance and assigned my two brothers different roles. The older one was supposed to pretend he was trying to revive me and the younger one was to tell everyone that I was floating lifeless in the pool. I also made sure there was an audience to watch the show. Needless to say, I ruined everybody’s day and was grounded for days. My grandfather felt ill. In case you are wondering, yes, I did feel bad afterwards but I also probably liked all the drama and the commotion around it.

In my favor, all I have to say is that I did not have much to keep me busy. I had a very dull existence as a child so I desperately needed to feel the wheels moving in that house. I needed to create movement and excitement and most times a little mischief was the only thing that did the trick. We were not given many books to read, even though I loved books and stories. Maybe this is related to that generation, but the concept of entertaining one’s kid was totally unknown to my parents. There were no games, no activities or home projects to keep us happy. Most of the time, me and my brothers were left to our own devices as long as we did not leave the house. I found it very difficult to enjoy myself even though I had a bike which I was allowed to ride as long as it was within the boundaries of our patio. I also had plenty of dolls and when I got sick of them I would cut their hair and paint “make-up” all over their faces. I don’t remember being reprimanded for ruining my toys. We almost never went out and since I was a girl I was not welcome to join my brothers in their “boys” explorations.

I felt like a recluse in that house.


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