saturday – first day of carnival

it’s the first day of carnival, the very first moment of it. my excitement uncoils loudly, quickly and hard, expanding from a little, tiny bundle in my belly to my fingers, head, toes – a hot, sparkling sensation of happiness that comes in waves, washing over and over. in the quiet of the early morning, I can hear my heartbeat buzzing in my ears, the rush of blood. it makes me dizzy, head spinning. it is the first day of it, and this happiness… and it can’t just be contained.

it keeps me from sleeping, as usual. I’m bouncing like a kid on Christmas, a junkie on the first minute after the morning hit. I feel it, in me, coursing a path of sudden clarity and endorphins. so I get up from bed after a half-slept walking-dream and look outside. and it’s sunny, shinny. and it’s hot, too hot – a sun so high in the sky just like the first day of carnival should be. the gold yellow, beach-perfect sun is just as it should be: suffocatingly inviting, trapping, enduring. perfect, for under no circumstances must it rain on carnival holidays.

and I drink my coffee as slowly as I can, I try to savor it, for I have to do it, and try to kill those awful empty minutes before it is time for the show, time for it all to really begin. I sip it. and I occupy my mind, going as far as it can go: I imagine it all in my head, the scenarios, the faces, how is it going to be; and, in imagination and memory, I feel the sweat in the back of my neck, and imagine how it will be amidst the hot, dense wall of people on the downtown squares, mixed with their sweat, sticky, nasty, sweet. I also imagine, and remember, how the beer will smell, evaporating on people’s breath, amidst all the songs belched and sung, and how it will feel when it’s cold, from a can, inside my mouth when I’m parched after jumping and chasing ghosts, clowns and skeletons.

and I no longer can hide it, put it aside. it’s uncontainable, unleashed. so I put the coffee aside and start putting on my costume, every part, like a ritual. piece by piece, cloth by cloth, while I take my time. it makes me laugh and the sound and pitch of my voice speaks volumes in the dead of this hot morning. but it must be known that this all, this setup, it’s more than just clothes, it’s a whole assemble. it’s harmony. so I imagine myself there, on the street, one more in the middle of people, a dot in the mural of colors of other people’s costumes. I imagine it all, coffee long discarded, clothes fully on.

but for now, I have to sit. I can only sit, patiently, bored. I have to contain the songs in the back of my throat, stopping the energy that paints the morning warm air. it is still too early to go out, the festive city and its willing participants still asleep after a Friday of celebratory drinking, of grand opening, of welcoming this great season. they will wake up in only a few hours, with duly hangovers but happy, incredible smiles from ear to ear. I imagine them and I, too, smile. but for now, I sit, hat, shirt and gloves on and I wait. wait for the clock to click, wait for the first beats of drums on the sidewalks, wait for wolf-whistles from the ever early-rising bakers, for the talks of drunks and vagrants who are still up from last night and, finally, for the first, fresh pierrots to cross my street at the crack of dawn, down the path of confetti, of this blanket of a myriad of paper that waits for eager feet to cross.

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