The alarm went off at 6AM every day. The parents and their two children always followed the same routine. The silence in Lucas’ house was overwhelming. His mom, Célia, worked in retail and would come home early to make dinner. His dad, José, a physical therapist, regularly came home late, and his sister, Mariah, was worried about passing her university entrance exam and was always studying.
One day during breakfast, the usual silence broke.
“Look at this, it’s absurd! Gangs of graffiti vandals were competing to see who could reach the highest point on the building. They marked it all up. The city’s spent millions on the paint job,” said José, shaking his head.
“I think the politicians deserve it. Instead of building public hospitals, they worry about what buildings look like! Meanwhile, people are dying in lines waiting for free healthcare!” Célia cried.
“Whatever, I don’t own the building. All I care about is seeing my name on that university admissions list.” said Mariah, shrugging.
“Did they identify any of the artists?” asks Lucas, biting into a piece of bread.
“It doesn’t say anything about that,” replied father.
“What happened to my dress? It’s completely stained!”
“Mariah, how many times have I told you not to mix colors in the washing machine?”
Lucas choked. He got up and went out for his internship. His cell phone rand, yet he didn’t bother looking until later.
“I won’t be back until later today,” said José.
At night, Celia and Mariah watched a telenovela. On the other side of town, Lucas met with his group for yet another competition.
“That old building is perfect. It’s probably just a bunch of old geezers living there; just think how they’ll react tomorrow!” said Pietro, laughing. They started the climb, armed with paint. In one of the 26th floor apartments, it was romance time: lit candles, ylang ylang aroma.
From inside the room, a man sees a shadow and hears a noise. Thinking it an intruder, the man rushed toward the window with a racquet in hand, while the clueless woman in the other room called for him.
The wind caused the curtains to ruffle, and he saw something. Someone.
“You?!” The young man yelled from the other side of the window, before losing his balance and falling back.
Shocked, the man stood frozen, watching his son drop.
LETÍCIA ALVAREZ UCHA was born in Porto Alegre and is a lawyer. She has participated in several anthologies published by Câmara Brasileira de Jovens Escritores (CBJE – Brazilian Chamber of Young Writers). Six of her stories were selected for the 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 annual editions of the CBJE’s Brazilian Literary Panorama – Best Stories.
Copyright © 2018 by Letícia Alvarez Ucha. All rights reserved.