The Absent Moon by Luiz Schwarcz

The Absent Moon by Luiz Schwarcz

Author:Luiz Schwarcz [Schwarcz, Luiz]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2023-02-27T00:00:00+00:00

On a trip with the Chazit group, I caught a glimpse of just how deeply my father’s blow to my cheek had impacted me, and would even decades later. At the campsites we set up, most often on a rural property in Cotia, we would have training sessions in Krav Maga, a fighting method developed by the Israeli Defense Forces, now in vogue as a self-defense tool. Each class began with a new technique and then proceeded to a barbaric ritual in which we were to fight among ourselves as our peers formed a circle around us. The match began with each combatant slapping the other in the face. One time, I was chosen to fight a guy a little shorter but much stronger than I was. He was a tank. After he delivered that first slap, I lost my composure and, instead of responding with a ceremonial slap of my own, I leaped over and took him to the floor with a violent judo blow. On the floor, I choked him until instructors stepped in, stopping me before I could do some real damage. On another occasion, I pushed a guy down the bleachers when he refused to sit down after the opening whistle for a Santos game at Pacaembu Stadium. Now and then, I pick a fight with overly aggressive security guards or ushers, as I did on a recent family trip to Rome. Many times Lili finds herself warning me, or even holding me back. Picking a fight with the police can only lead to disaster, but I don’t always keep this in mind or manage to control myself. The arrogance of customs officers at airports is a huge problem for me. It doesn’t take much before I’m spoiling for a fight, spewing insults their way, as though I had some real power to challenge abusive authorities.

Lili is always the one who takes control and prevents me or the entire family from having problems. Not long ago, as I was arriving in New York, a policeman humiliated me. Lili wasn’t there, and this time they very nearly had me arrested.

These increasingly rare behaviors may be nothing more than the sign of a typical hothead, but to me they feel more like bipolar loss of control. Over the years, my voice has become softer, my angry words rarer, and perhaps as a result I give the impression that I’m a man at peace, free of major internal conflicts. My tone of voice is deceptive.

Perhaps there are those who do sense something of what’s going on within me. Those who have been part of my life for a long time must have noticed, especially those who worked at Companhia das Letras in the beginning. At that time, I was terribly full of energy and conviction. On the other hand, I did everything with a deep irritability, today under control thanks to the right dosage of medication. What’s more, my energy level was higher, and my convictions stronger. I knew


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