Chapter 2

MY LIFE ´TILL LONDON

 

- Hey hotti

- Hey singer!

- How are things over in Australia

- Good! When are you going to come by for a visit? The last time we were together was in late December 2001 in Portugal! You were all excited because you had written lots of song lyrics and had started writing a book!

- You remember?!!

- Of course I remember! I remember all of our conversations! They were (among other things) about a certain singer and in rebellion you said you were going to become a singer, composer and compete with him. You wanted to be famous, like he’d never been! I also told you a lot about me, my adventurous love life…

- Do you know that you speak with a British accent? That’s cute! Sexy! I miss you a lot, you know?

- Of course I know! I’m unforgettable! You and I have been apart due to this long distance, but today you’re going to keep your promise and tell me your entire life story! You only ever tell me bits and pieces however, I think your life would make a good Hollywood movie!

- Oh…stop kidding around!

- I’m being serious. Your life in general is strange. You’ve also had a peculiar and different path than those who try to make it in the music industry. Although you may feel lost, in the end it was good for you. You can concentrate yourself entirely on the completion of your book! When are you coming to Australia? Most of my family and friends have already been here to visit me! You’re the only one who hasn’t! How many chapters will your book have? What’s the title?

- The book is going to have five chapters and the title is going to be, “I, Ninfa Artemis”. But the book I had written in 2001, is no longer a “book”, but a huge chapter! It’s chapter four of the book and it’s entitled: “P comma, P period. 8-8-1998”.

- Mysterious title! I know what it symbolizes! Did you keep the same structure as the 2001 book? Does that chapter contain your story with the singer and our conversations?

- Yes. And, of course you know what the title means! You know the story so well! In that chapter I give a short introduction so that the reader can understand the title and foreshadow what is to come. There is a special radiance when you appear on the scene!  You’re the star of that entire chapter! Not me or the singer. You! Because when you recount your romantic adventures the book turns into a soap opera that you can’t stop reading from beginning to end! You are a rebel! Original! Unpredictable! You asked me to put you in the book, but even if you hadn’t asked I would have put you in it anyway!

- Thank you! I think that without your adventures with the singer that chapter would have no interest! The number of emails you sent him! Even before you met him personally I warned you to watch out for him! But you didn’t seem to want to heed my warnings. A correction: I was a rebel and still am! If I had power and contacts in the music industry, those blokes from London would be in serious trouble with me! I would screw up their lives!

- Don’t give them so much importance...They already think they’re important enough. If things had gone “well” with those guys, I wouldn’t have had the idea of resuming the book and finishing it. Do you know what I did with all the lyrics I wrote in 2000? They’re chapter five! I had sent the singer the lyrics which later would come to originate the Portuguese album “Incenso”. After endless weeks of waiting for a response and because I had nothing to occupy my time with besides work, I began writing more possible poems for song…

- That singer didn’t deserve you!...After what happened there was not much hope...You shouldn’t have sent him the lyrics, but you were always so naïve! You were determined that he’d write the melody because you felt you couldn’t do it as you had no experience or musical training...but he only cared about himself.

- The poems were forgotten in a corner for so many years that I had forgotten they even existed. So many years on a floppy disk waiting to find a floppy disk reader because modern computers no longer come with these! I went to countless computer stores in search of a reader until I finally found one on sale! So many years had gone by! They had been written in 2000! The year in which many prophesized the end of the world!

- Yeah! The Mayan prophecies also announced the end of the world on December 21st 2012! The next day it was a big joke on all the social networks! Some would say: it was the worst apocalypse ever...nothing happened, no aliens appeared, not even the Devil came to Earth, no anti-Christ, no cataclysms, no floods, no mega storms! “The end of the world was horrible,” they’d say. I had such a riot with this.

- Do you still remember the Brazilian psychic? The one who suggested I write song lyrics when things with the singer got complicated?

- I remember…

- Because she was important in the choice I made, she’s in the book in chapters three and four. She’s also the one that suggested I pour champagne on the tires of my car. “Preferentially rosé!”, she’d said and “throw salt on them as well to dispel bad luck!” I don’t know how she saw in her tarot cards that my car was literally breaking down on a daily basis! But, it worked! Strange as it may seem, it didn’t break down for a long time after that!

- The car fixed itself? I doubt it! You took it to a repair shop and the mechanics fixed it, right? You, psychics, prophecies...you’re my little angel.

- The British psychic who encouraged me to write the melodies to my songs when I didn’t know what to do with my lyrics also appears, of course! Chapter 3! I will send you the book when I finish it.

- Thanks! Love you! You’re the sweetest, kindest little angel in the world!

- In chapter 3 that British singer whom I was fascinated by and wrote lots of song lyrics to also appears. Besides that I also talk about the music studio where I recorded my songs. And you appear in chapters 2 and 4!

- I’m in chapter 2?! I thought that I was only in chapter 4! How do I appear in chapter 2?! Now, my life is trite! Can you believe that my hair is dyed a simple auburn brown and not blond with orange highlights like when I lived in Portugal! I haven’t got any funny stories to share like the ones I experienced in chapter four! What can I say for you to write something interesting?!

- In chapter 2 you’re talking to me on the telephone! Relax. You’re not being filmed! Just talk normally and leave the writing to me. I just need someone to open up to...or I’m going to explode! You are that somebody!

- Hey...why that sad tone of voice? Don’t be like that! Your life is going to be phenomenal and marvelous! In March you were crying on the telephone, screaming and damning those guys from London…you suffocated in your tears… Forget what happened to you in London! Take a vacation from your mind and think happy thoughts! I assume that writing the book is helping you psychologically…Don’t forget to mention your sessions of hypnotism in Brazil!

- I mention them in chapter four. I thought about the division of the chapters of the book at Stansted airport on my return trip to Portugal. My flight was only at 6:30 p.m., but by 9:30 a.m. I was already at the airport. On almost zero sleep, in shock by all that had happened to me…good things…bad things…I decided to write this book about my life. There was little more I could do to help myself. I started imagining the book. I got a notebook and a pen to write, but I remained motionless…staring…

- Imagining your book in your mind, right?

- No. I was staring at the people! It was 9:30 a.m. I had nine hours to wait before my flight was to depart. I had no idea how I was going to occupy my time there and my life in Portugal so as to not die of boredom! I happened to look over at a table to my left and saw a woman sitting alone. I was in a small food court, one among many in an airport. There they served tea, coffee, sandwiches, cakes...etc.

- What was it about that woman that was so special?

- That woman who was sitting to my left had a carry on, as did most of the people at the airport. She was also waiting for her airplane’s boarding time. In front of her, on the table there was a cup of tea which was practically empty and a sandwich which she hadn’t finished, it was half-eaten. On top of my table were a bunch of empty packets of strawberry jam which were on sale on the counter when I went to order my tea. The waiter told me that the jam was very sweet and that all those packets may be too much to eat in one sitting, and without bread nonetheless!!

- My little strawberry jam angel!

- And you’re a little Australian strawberry that likes to make fun of me!

- Because I like you...that’s why I joke around with you...

- I told the waiter that I needed to eat that jam because I was feeling down and maybe they’d make me feel better. He, a twenty-five year old Italian with an excellent English accent, signaled “no” with his index finger indicating that he didn’t want to hear about my problems – that he had enough of his own!

- Seriously?! What an idiot! Were you going to tell him your life story?!

- No, I just told him that I needed to eat all those little packets of strawberry jam! There were about twelve!

- What happened with the woman with the half-eaten sandwich?

- There she was, with her half-eaten sandwich on a small dish in front of her waiting for Lord knows what when the woman removed a tube of nail polish from her bag and she began painting her nails. She waited for the nail polish to dry and then started to read an e-book. Two minutes later she put her e-book away, looked at the sandwich as if she was going to eat it, but ended up deciding it would remain a half-eaten sandwich! She took some lipstick out of her purse and put some on.

- And then?

- Nothing! She didn’t leave. She didn’t eat the sandwich. Now, she had her lips and nails painted and was staring out into infinity! I grabbed my pen again and started thinking about titles for each chapter of my book and how many chapters there would be in total, but I couldn’t write. My mind was constantly filled with thoughts. I was too tired. I was now sitting with my elbows on top of the table with the palms of my hands covering my eyes. I remained in this position, with my eyes closed, for quite some time…I felt like disappearing from this world! But I had already had a near death experienced and asked God in that mortal instance to let me live because I wanted to see how far I could get in the music industry. This was in 2000 when I had only started writing a few song lyrics. So, I had decided to stick around for a few more years, but now I was feeling really down...

- Hey…there’s no point feeling like that! Everybody has good and bad days! I remember you telling about that near death experience. You’re going to include it in the book, aren’t you?

- Chapter three.

- It’s normal to feel tired of everything and everyone in the circumstances you found yourself in…Besides that, you were also probably feeling really tired from lack of sleep…being poorly nourished…

 - I had had some milk that morning. I didn’t feel like eating anything but because of the two hour trip from the hotel to the airport which I had to endure, ten minutes before leaving the hotel I drank all the small packets of milk that the hotel had put out supposedly to add to a guest’s coffee or tea. There was an electric pot in the room for that purpose. I had looked at those little packets an infinite number of times every time I’d open the room’s mini bar! This time, they’d disappear! Do you know what I did before drinking all those packets of milk?

- You love water! Did you have a long bath?

- The hotel didn’t have a bathtub. It was a very humble hotel. They would change my towel every two days. There were no other towels. Just the one towel which easily got soaked every time I washed my long hair! The bed linens were changed every four days. The hotel tried to cut down on costs by cutting down on laundry. It was a modest hotel. I couldn’t afford a more expensive hotel, but I can’t complain about the hotel I stayed in. In order to keep calm and as I couldn’t fall asleep, I had a hot shower at 10 p.m., another at 2 a.m. and still another at 4 a.m. At 5:30 a.m. I took a final shower...this time my hot shower lasted a full fourty minutes. I stood with my head against the white tiles. The bathroom was full of vapor and smelled of soap. The soap had slipped from my hands and was now at my feet melting in the hot water as I mentally said farewell to London.

- A pensive Ninfa…

- With my eyes closed, I knew that the bathroom mirror would be fogged up from the steam…just as the soap had slipped from my hands, so had my life…It was diluting, collapsing…I didn’t know if I was going to have the strength to save myself one more time…

- Oh! My poor Ninfa…

- There I was, naked, under that hot water in the cold night of life. The shower head was fixed high above me. Haughty...acting arrogant and inaccessible to me just like everyone around me. Everyone acting snooty! Miserable beings centered on themselves and who only have time for themselves…nothing else!

- You were really feeling alone…One day you’ll conquer the world!

- At 8:30 p.m. the previous day I dialed (for the last time) the number of the guitarist from the “open mic”.  He was a musician from a francophone speaking country living in London and had accompanied me in my musical route. I was sitting on the carpeted floor of my small hotel room, my hair a mess, the television on, canned food around me, feeling completely alone. I made my number private. He answered quickly. I couldn’t speak or say anything. I hung up almost immediately. Once, I had trusted him to be my friend. Maybe he suspected it was me.

- The guitarist from the “open mic”…the one you said was a great guy...you thought he was the best! You, your optimism and your habit of taking people in with open arms...

- I’m going to read one of my poems from chapter five. I numbered the poems. This is poem number one hundred and twenty-three. It’s entitled “Not bad”. Do you want to hear it?

- You’re changing the subject!! I want to know more about London! Is the poem dedicated to me?

- You’re a cutie that avoids suffering...I don’t believe that the poem applies to you, but I think you’d like it. I’m going to tell you the entire London story in a bit. Here goes the poem: “No one gives you anything, Not even borrowed… Actually, no one knows, If you’re sleeping well or not.”

- It’s true! When I don’t sleep, I try to hide the dark circles under my eyes as best I can! No one knows if I slept well or not!

- Let me read the rest, sweetie! “Everyday more, Your hands rise to cover your face, You feel the madness in quantity and quality, It’s amusing”

- When I feel like I’m going crazy…I don’t feel tempted to bring my hands to my face to cover it, but more tempted to punch the person who pissed me off and made me feel that way! Other times I think about sex! But I like the verse! Next verse! I promise not to interrupt, lovely writer!

- “When you look at yourself in the mirror, You’re not all that bad and even seem normal, Not bad”

- I like it! Poetic, realistic, it conjures emotion but it’s not an intellectual poem – one can easily understand what you are talking about. Now I want to hear a romantic poem of yours!

- Let me go through the poems...Oh, I think you’ll like this one! This is poem number sixteen. The poem is called, “You Don’t Even Notice”. I wrote it in the masculine and it’s dedicated to a woman.

- You’re into women?! Since when?!

- No sweetie! I write under a masculine pseudonym, that’s all. Here it is! “You don’t even notice, That up to now, What you wanted to do, All the time, I let you do: “Walk in the clouds!” But the game, Just wakes me more, Being silly, Your desire, To constantly walk in the clouds, Always in the clouds, You don’t even notice, That I can’t turn off, This phenomenon, That you woke in me, You don’t even notice...”

- My little angel is always up in the clouds!

- I’m a little angel and you shouldn’t interrupt little angelic writers! “You don’t even notice that, The clouds where you hide, Are not a safe hiding place anymore, There I go, Naked, I will hide myself in the clouds, Squeeze you in me, Until I squash all the clouds, And finally you will notice, I am completely naked!”

- Cheers! I loved it! Good job! How many poems are in chapter five?

- One hundred and forty-eight. In truth there were two hundred and sixteen, but since the book has about four hundred pages I had to divide the pages per chapter and I had to select the best poems. For example, there’s a poem entitled, “Coffee” which I didn’t include which goes: “I had a coffee, I’m unbearable, I forgot that caffeine affects me, It’s night, Dawn, The caffeine keeps me awake, What should I do to entertain myself?!”

- You could have included it! It would be cool if the poem ended in a naughty way. For example, “What can I do to entertain myself so that my time is better spent?! Honey, are you up for some sex?”

- You haven’t changed a bit, naughty girl!

- What’s the problem with, “Honey, are you up for some sex?!!” And while we’re at it: “Let’s take a bath and lather up my entire body with soap!”

- I had another poem which I didn’t include entitled “Soap”!

- What’s that poem about? I’m curious!

- Nothing special...It was a strange poem, but it made me laugh! It went more or less like this: “I washed my hair with soap instead of shampoo. Now my scalp is itchy. I should have used shampoo! I ate soup with a fork, I got tired of so many forkfuls. I lost a lot of soup through the fork’s tines. I should have used a spoon! I smiled at the disgrace which was my life, but I must have made an ugly face because she stayed near me, finding me to be pleasant company! As if that weren’t enough, disgrace thought she needed strength to continue being a disgrace, so she got in the tub for a fragrant bath! Now she is lathering herself with soap!”

- The poem is funny! It’s different than usual! Why didn’t you include it?! I love it! Your voice sounded strange towards the end…London again?

- I got home tired from work one day and thought: “I worked so hard to change my life and I’m still here…I spent money on psychic readings, years in the recording studio making songs, went to London…all for what? These past fifteen years for what? Before this my life was empty with a lot of hope for the future. Now, not even that! I’ve reached the future and nothing exists! I might as well have been born in a vegetative state, grown up in this state and only gained consciousness now…” My father looked at me in a pensive state (he had left the dining to go to the kitchen and have a sandwich). I was in the hall leaning against a wall trapped with nowhere to go and he said, “Life is full of twists and turns…and more turns…music, your trips to Lisbon and everything else you get yourself involved in…for nothing! You tire yourself for nothing!” He said this somewhat scornfully, but was reading my mind.

- Trips to Lisbon?! The capital?!

- I never told my parents that I was going to London...I said that I had to do some training in Lisbon; that my job required me to go! Otherwise they’d worry about me...you know how parents are.

- Cheer up! I don’t like to see you so sad!

- I’ve always felt like a fish out of water, out of my natural habitat….out of place, uncomfortable, dissatisfied. I always fought hard to change my circumstances, but I’m like a guinea pig running in the circles of life...no matter how fast I run, I can’t get out. I have to get out!!!

- You will get out! I´m sure about that! And today you’re going to tell me everything about your life: from the day you were born and ending in London! If God exists, everything that happened to you has a reason of being! You will still find happiness in love, in music and your book will be a success!

- I wish I could be like you…happy and without worries.

- Don’t give up now! Are you listening?! Hang on to your dreams with all the strength you have left! You’re almost there! People will like you! You have to control you stress and anxiety levels! And get rid of the useless, ungrateful, egotistical, manipulative, weak, chronically insecure, pessimistic people in your life! Get rid of those people who destroy your self-confidence, who break you down mentally! Are you eating something? I think I hear you chewing on something…

- You told me to cheer up! I’m eating an ice cream…white chocolate strawberry. You want some?

- Give me a second. I’ll be right back...I’ve got ice cream in the fridge! I bought it yesterday! I’m going to get some! (…) Are you there?

- Yes, sweetie. What flavor is your ice cream?

- Hazelnut and rum!

- Do you know that I’m also drinking cocoa-powdered beer? Ice cream makes me thirsty!

- Beer with what?! Cocoa powder! Is it the new fad drink in Portugal?!

- One day I got home and thought: beer is always so bitter. Then, I opened my cupboard, saw the cocoa powder and thought about adding it to the beer! So, do you want a summary of my life?

- Tell me! But, before you do...read me another poem that you left out! I’m fascinated by your poems!

- I have one here that I like, but I didn’t include it because it seemed more like a story and less like a poem. It could never be a song...It’s too amusing!

- You didn’t include it because it was too amusing?! Do you think I might choke on my hazelnut ice cream from laughing so hard? Read it.

- It’s called “Rearview mirror” and goes: “From my rearview mirror I see an ocean. Half of it is shiny blue with sunshine reflecting off it and the other half is an ocean of tall waves. In the shiny blue half the people are relaxed, naked, with sunglasses on and saying, “Happy days!” On the other half (with the tall waves) are surfers full of adrenaline at the crest of the wave saying, “Cool, dude!” In the middle of the ocean I’m saying, “I have a fantastic car! It can even make a road of the ocean! I’m floating! You see?” Large colorful parrots land on the hood of my car, right in front of me. They are singing rock songs. I think: This is not normal. A wave breaks in my rearview mirror. I cannot look back. Look! The parrots are eating french fries with ketchup on the hood of my car!” And that’s the end of the poem.

- The end?! What did the parrots do after eating the french fries?

- The poem stops there...the end.

- I don’t care! Tell me what the parrots did after eating the french fries.

- Are you feeling alright? How much rum is in your ice cream?

- Make up the rest of the poem and tell me what the parrots did…

- Let me think... Look: they finished the french fries, cleaned their beaks on a white napkin which turned red from the ketchup. Then, they asked me if they could come into my car because they wanted to take a nap. I said ok! They got in and sweetly and told me to float the car into the ocean carefully because their bellies were full of french fries and the bumpy ocean waves could make them sea sick and vomit!  

- You would end your poem with vomit?! It´s weird! I love it! Have you got any poem about foam, sweet Ninfa?

- Actually, I do but it´s a really strange one…I add bacteria to the foam. Here is the poem: “I’m in a white shirt, no bra, lace panties, my bare feet in the ocean foam. My hair is loose, long and wavy with suds rolling in it. The ocean, seaweed, shells and bacteria eating-plastic crash hard at my feet. I stretch, lift my arms high, put my feet in the puddles of seaweed water and feel the wind... The bacteria eating-plastic are eating away all the plastic on the sand and I think that a storm with strong winds, lightening and strong rain is approaching…spectacular!”

- Bacteria eating-plastic?! Does that exist?

- Honey, it’s my poem! I included futuristic bacteria! They don’t actually eat the plastic…otherwise they’d become huge and visible! As the bacteria are invisible, they simply emit laser rays which evaporate the trash that people don’t place in the appropriate receptacles and leave behind on the beach!

- I like this poem too! I think you left the funniest ones out! Now, let’s go on to the poem of your life since you were born to the day in which you placed ads in London looking for musicians! I only knew you from work and our conversations in Portugal were mostly about the singer from chapter 4! We hardly spoke of your life before this...You used to call me in Australia now and again to update me on your music, but you were always so vague. About the singer, did you cut some of that chapter like you cut chapter 5?

- Yes. I had to make small changes and omissions to guarantee the anonymity of the singer. Privacy issues. I did the same with those who will appear in chapter 2.

- You followed the singer as his career flourished and as it descended...He never got up again, did he?

- Life’s like this...full of ups and downs...

- Honey: he deserves the destiny that he got and I hope those guys from London get what they deserve too! I hope they disappear; that no one remembers who they are!

- It’s not worth it to hate or hold grudges! Without knowing it, they helped me! I finished my ice cream and my beer! Give me a second. I think I’m going to make myself a cheese sandwich...maybe I’ll add some seedless black olives and some raw carrot to it! (…) You have to admit that the singer had some amusing aspects to his personality. He only appears in the book because I want to explain how my whole story with him led me to music. Moreover, I have no interest in anyone knowing who he is. It's been too many years. I thank him.

- He never helped you with anything, how can you thank him?!

- Sometimes (and I repeat) without knowing it, those who mess up our lives are helping us by propelling us toward a new direction…

- How’s your sandwich with olives and carrot? My rum ice cream is finished! I think I’m going to eat some cooked prawns I have in the fridge! Do you know how you’re going to start chapter 2? Is it going to start with our phone conversation?

 - It begins with the idea that something happened to me in London...something difficult to deal with and which caused me immense suffering... I also mention something I read years ago which impressed me greatly.

- I already know what it is! Apocalyptic prophecies! The balls of fire coming from the Heavens that will destroy most humans and humanity as we know it, right? You were constantly taking about that. Don’t you think you should change your name to Ninfa Prophet?

- That story about the balls of fire refers to a nun from Akita, Japan who in 1972 was cured miraculously by a being from the Heavens who told her that if humanity does not change, two-thirds of humanity will be wiped out by balls of fire coming from the sky and that the survivors will feel so desolate that they will envy the dead because the remaining days will be practically impossible to bear for those who remain living.

- Spooky and real doomsday like!

- Oh! I forgot to mention...about chapter 3! In it I mention some adventures that took place in the music studio and describe the methodology I use to compose the melody of my songs since I have no experience in music. I also explain how I would rehearse the songs since I don’t have a band. In sum: I describe the obstacles I had to overcome due to my lack of musical experience.  Did you know that the musician from the music studio can move his ears?! He can make them move a little when he was thinking hard about something! Can you make your ears move?

- No! Only if I use my hands!

- The studio musician was paid hourly. In music little is done in an hour. I spent lots of hours at the studio and the debt got larger and larger... The last songs I recorded were "Destiny versus Holidays" and “Strong/Wrong”. In “Destiny versus Holidays” I order destiny to pay me a good vacation and even offer me champagne! In "Strong / Wrong" I say: “I don´t say fuck you ´cause for you I wish only bad things”.

- I like the lyrics! “Destiny, pay me a good vacation! I don´t say fuck you ´cause for you I wish only bad things”. Love it! Fantastic! Start telling me about your life from the day you were born ´till today, please!…

- I was born in late September on a day in which the grapes were being harvested for wine. My mother was harvesting when she felt labor pains. Her mother, who was also working in the vineyard, was a curer and my midwife. My parents thought it best for me to be locked in the house as a child so as to avoid any danger while they worked the land. Spending so many days at home without anything to do to occupy my time made me restless and I would spend a lot of time kicking at and punching the door which kept me captive in the house. The door was tightly shut. No one could hear me. I was left to myself.

- I’m starting to understand why you isolate yourself so much...this was a habit that was instilled from childhood!

- My parents had a very modest life and there was no money to buy me educational games, colorful books or other toys which parents now give their children. I had no siblings, had no didactic material to occupy my time, but at least I had food. Times were economically challenging for everyone. I was about four years old when my father immigrated to Germany by himself. It was early morning when I woke up hearing my parent’s voices in the next room. I got up and saw that my father was now out the door with a huge suitcase beside him. I was very intrigued by this and asked him where he was going. He told me he was going to get a statue of a saint, which was why he was carrying such a large suitcase - in order to transport it. He said that the saint was for me. I had always been very impressed by the statues of saints I saw in churches and dreamed of having one at home!

- Your father didn’t explain to you that he was going to be living in Germany for some time?

- No. No adult ever explained anything to me and I always lived between these two extremes: being treated like I didn’t have the ability to understand things so why explain them or being treated as if I had the obligation of understanding things by merely observing them and explanations were pointless! Sadly, throughout my life I dealt with many people like this… Things happened to me, without my understanding the reasons why! Do I have to figure things out myself? No problem! I can do it!

- Did you and your mother go to Germany also?

- Two years after my father immigrated, he told my mother that had economic stability and had even rented a house for all of us to live in. He had also got a job for my mother in a spinning mill.

- Did you like living in Germany?

- We lived there for six and a half years. I loved it! A year after I got to Germany I went to school because I had reached the age of mandatory education. But, the first year I was there, I was locked in the house while my parents went to work (just like they had done in Portugal). They’d come home for lunch and return to work again. But this time, things were a little better because although I was shut in the house, I had a television! I would watch TV all night! My parents would go to sleep (exhausted from work) and get up early! They had really deep sleeps and I was able to watch TV all night without them knowing that I was still in the living room in front of the television! I had a good life: I would wake up at whatever time I wanted, go to bed when I wanted, watch however much television I wanted and to top it off I had toys and books with drawings that I could color in! I loved those books! I have a strong connection to colors so I had a blast coloring!

- Weren’t there daycare centers or babysitters?!

- There were, but my parents wanted to save money and they knew that I knew how to take care of myself and not put myself or our house in danger. I knew how to use the stove to heat milk or other simple things like that. I was able to feed myself and responsibly used appliances. The problems only arose when I got tired of watching TV and I decided to clean the house!

- Clean how?

- I was a nightmare at cleaning! My problem was having excessive ideas! Once I did the following: Because I loved the smell of the shampoos that were in the bathroom, I had the idea to use them to scent the house, the furniture, the floor, the TV screen...well, everything! I cleaned everything with a damp cloth soaked in shampoo! Most of the times things got stained because the foam from using too much shampoo would dry on the furniture. As my mom tried to clean up my mess with a damp cloth, foam would gather!

- Did you do more funny things like that?

- The most unnerving thing for my mother was one day when she got home and smelled an intense perfume scent throughout the house, especially near a particular cabinet. The smell near the shoe closet was so intense it was dizzying! My mother asked me where I had poured the entire contents of a new bottle of perfume that had been on top of her dresser in the bedroom. I told her that all the shoes and boots that were being stored in the closet now smelled much better!

- You had to be different! Even as a child!

- Once I didn’t feel like watching TV or cleaning ... I looked over at three Spanish dolls that my mother had brought me from Spain on the last summer trip we had taken as we travelled to Portugal by car. When passing through Spain, there were dolls dressed in Sevillian garb with medium or long hair for tourists to buy. My mother purchased three of them. I was engrossed by them and decided to cut their hair…something different to pass the time. My mother, who loved the dolls so much that she had placed the dolls on the sofa as decoration, was so horrified by my deed that I thought she might faint. To make her feel better I told her that their hair was not well cut but that when their hair grew back I would give them a much better cut because then I would have a little more experience.

- How old were you?

- I was 5 years old. "Their hair won’t grow back," said my mother as she shook her head indignantly at the ingenuity of her daughter. "Why not?”, I asked intrigued. "Because they’re dolls!" replied my mother in monotone voice. "And why doesn’t dolls’ hair grow?" I wanted to understand. "Because!" answered my mother sick and tired of so many questions. "Adults are all annoying and never explain anything to me!" I thought with conviction.

- Hilarious!...

- The trip from where we lived in Germany to the Netherlands was fairly close. My mother loved to shop there, particularly in a large shopping center which had several floors where one could buy beautiful curtains and huge Persian style carpets. There was also plenty of seafood and we’d usually buy some for dinners organized on Saturday nights with other emigrants and German families. We all got along very well.

- Do you have good memories of Germany?

- Yes. I loved the weekends when we’d go to a center for Portuguese emigrants where there was live music on a regular basis. The music was typically popular Portuguese music with accordions and guitars. Everyone danced including children who danced amongst the adults. I loved to dance! It was dancing and dining! It was so much fun! I also loved going to the Carnival parades in the city where I lived!

- Were they so great?

- As a child I thought they were fantastic! Carriages paraded mocking the time of the French court of King Louis XIV, among other historical times. We’d always take large plastic bags with us to the parade!

- Large plastic bags! For what? To stick your head in? Was that your Carnival costume! What a cute outfit...and cheap!

- Don’t mock me, cutie! We used the plastic bags to collect the candy that the masked characters from the court of King Louis XIV threw from the carriages that transported them. We would actually collect an average of 44 pounds of candy every Carnival! You can’t imagine the amount of sweets thrown at the people who were watching the parade... And I, at super human speed would collect the candy in my bags! Do you know what dish my mother makes regularly that I hate?

- No! Where did that suddenly come from? What was the dish?

- Boiled potatoes! She loves them! She tries to put boiled potatoes in all kinds of foods! I only like potatoes if they are fried or baked!

- I don’t really like boiled potatoes either!

- I was 11 when we returned to Portugal. I completed high school and college in Portugal. I attended a newly constructed university in a small town which is now booming thanks to this same institution. At that time, with no internet, people were less bold in their ideas, attitudes, opinions and clothing. At that time the city was provincial and this was felt. Nothing special happened in those days at the university for me and the provincialism tired me. Once I wore a leather jacket with side zippers, a long black skirt and boots which made me look like a punk rocker. A girl from my class with low marks in some subjects and who was repeating some classes found that my style was anti-social.

- Ignorant people have to be ignored...

- In my last year at university I decided to do experimental theater. I think it was an interesting experience. Eventually, I finished my degree and got a job. A few years later I enrolled in another course linked to computer science at the same university since I was able to get credit from classes I had taken in my prior degree. I was able to work and study because I worked nights. The computer was not yet in widespread use. I had almost no experience with computers. I could barely use Word, but after some time I got by fairly well.

- You're smart. That, I always knew.

- Thank you! Did you know that sometimes teachers from my computing course refused to take questions? They said that the computer science was (and is) always in rapid development and that we had to fend for ourselves and know how to search for information on the internet and in books. We needed to know how to teach ourselves! The teachers would ask us if when we went to work in a company that recently launched new software, if we were going to run and ask questions at the university. "Of course not!" they’d say!

- Did you finish your degree?

- I quit at the end of the third year although I had got credit for a lot of classes and was very studious. It was because of a comment made by my cryptography professor that I decided to quit. He was lecturing and he shared something interesting with us (probably because he felt we were bored by his lecture). He said, “I had a student who would come to class to sleep, whether it be morning or afternoon. His performance on tests was terrible and spent his nights on computer topics he found more interesting: hacking high security computer systems! That was his passion! He spent his nights studying the computer systems he wanted to hack. One day, he hacked the security system of a large multinational company! Rather than prosecute him, the company hired him to improve and ensure the security of their computer system! Passion is the true secret to our success." And that pissed me off!

- Why?

- A student who didn’t care about classes was an object of admiration! I quit the course. I had already acquired the basics and learned to fend for myself with computers but, I had no passion. I could not compare to some of my course colleagues who spent their Christmas vacation, Carnival, Easter and summer focused on the study of software whether it was part of the academic curriculum or not!

- They would do that?! Impressive!

- Oh! I forgot to tell you that prior to enrollment in the second course, I had enrolled in a private school of design. I dreamed of designing whether it be jewelry, furniture or even footwear. In footwear, I had a preference for women’s boots.

- Are you good at drawing?

- Terrible! I can draw abstract designs, but I can’t portray the reality of what the eyes see. I never learned to draw!

- And you enrolled in a design school!

- I was a dreamer and didn’t realize how important it was to be able to draw... Technical drawing was really important. I had to quit. Later, I ended up thinking that if I ever have money I can draw basic sketches, or communicate what I want in a specific order for boots, piece of furniture or jewelry and for that I don´t need a degree in design. Soon after, I decided to paint some canvases, glassware and t - shirts at home and this phase passed.

- The music comes when? After you quit your degree in computing?

- I was still attending the course when I began corresponding with the singer from chapter four whose story you know well. At the same time, I took a mini-vacation to Brazil. It was there that I underwent some sessions of hypnotism. The hypnotist’s assistant talked to me in the waiting room and I learned that her sister in law was a psychic. Out of curiosity I went to her and this influenced me so much that from there my story with singer became serious in my mind. Before this I hadn’t given him any importance since my world had nothing to do with his. After our breakup I realized that if I became a singer, wrote lyrics and created melodies I would not only be creative but also express my feelings. I could talk to people and simultaneously help and be helped. I would finally be in an ocean of creativity! I have always felt like a fish out of water...Now, I was in the ocean and it felt good!

- My Nymph...a little fish in her creative ocean! It would be sexier to say that you were a mermaid out of water...You don’t have the face of a little goldfish. Aside from Brazil, what other countries have you been to?

- After getting my degree and working for a while I decided to put some money aside to go on vacation for a few weeks in August. I travelled by boat, train, plane and bus. I visited Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Morocco... I think I’m not forgetting any country.

- Were you able to control your spending on these trips?

- There are always unexpected costs, but I tried to control my money by always traveling in economy class. Oh! I left out the countries that I travelled through by car when my parents (as immigrants) would come to Portugal to see the family. After leaving Germany we’d pass through Holland, then Belgium, then France, Spain and finally we’d enter Portugal from the city of Vilar Formoso. The trip took almost three days. We slept in the car as we had no money to spend on hotels. Later, we started to travel by plane. By plane the trip was only 2 hours. My parents could make that three-day trip by car virtually in total silence! The radio gave them a headache so, no music. I hated hearing the noise from the engines and horns of the cars waiting in queue to pay a toll...I also hated the silence inside the car... In Germany we lived in a neighborhood with immigrants of various nationalities: Italian, Spanish, Yugoslavian, Turkish, Arabic and Portuguese. At home we had lots of tapes of popular songs in German, Flemish and Mexican mariachis.

- You lived in a multicultural world...that must have been amazing!

- Once I got home and got sad when I saw my favorite Mexican music cassette all undone. The tape had been torn and scattered on the ground like Carnival streamers. This had probably been a result of an argument between my parents and quite possibly the result of my father’s anger. The cassette tape was probably close by and he ended up destroying it. The music on that tape was beautiful, so the artist wasn’t at fault!

- Are your parents still married?

- Yes. They have one of those old fashioned marriages with ups and downs but they stay together.

- I forgot to ask you when you spoke about the Brazilian psychic…Had you ever been to a psychic before that?

- I had only consulted a palm reader. He was the father of our colleague in the accounting department. He had once been a great and wealthy entrepreneur. His daughter had studied piano and French with private tutors and had also learned ballet. However, she did not follow an artistic career. She’d forgotten most of what she’d learned and decided on a degree in accounting. She says that the fact that her father went bankrupt must have made him mad! “Reading the future in palms!” she mocked.

- I see...

-She once said something that made everyone who was on morning break laugh...She began by saying that she had been thinking about changing the lock on her apartment door because she was divorcing her husband and there was no way to prevent him from entering the house. One day he opened the front door, and then opened the bathroom door. She was on the toilet. He had come to the house on purpose to argue with her about the division of assets, which would not be as she wanted. He argued as she sat there, on the toilet, with her pants down at her ankles. He argued and she could not retort in the state she was in and he said, “You see? You can’t even debate me about the division of property because you know I'm right!” He slammed the bathroom door aggressively behind him. "I don’t understand. We had made ​​love one night and the next morning he wakes up out of nowhere and tells me he wants a divorce, gets his things and leaves the apartment never to return until that day when I was on the toilet! I always suspected that he had lovers! He's gone but he won’t keep the money!”

- And what did the palm reader tell you?

- He only focused on analyzing the present situation pointing me in a direction but always for a period not exceeding six months. I remembered to ask him why I only attracted bad and crazy people and he replied, "If you attract crazy people it’s because you must also be a little crazy and if you attract bad people it’s because you don’t like to be treated well!” At the time I insulted him mentally but looking at my life, what he said has some truth...and I should have reflected on that.

- Don’t say that! Why do you knock yourself down? Your life story deserves respect! Very few people would have had the strength, courage, faith, hope, perseverance and been able to endure what you did all by yourself! And above all, achieve what you’ve achieved in your circumstances! You need to look on the bright side! Things with the singer ended badly, but it led to music and all the other stupid people you met in your life led you to want to change your life and gave you the strength to desire something better. You are no longer with them…and you are better! The situation in London was unfortunate and complicated for you but it made you finish the book. Otherwise, when would you have done it?

- Never.

- What? You would never have finished the book?!

- For my first website I made a very general summary of my life: how I got on the path to music and found the studio musician recording studio that allowed me to finish my songs etc. There were many pages. Part of this mini autobiography is presented in chapter 3. For my latest website I made ten videos based on that autobiography using instrumentals from my songs as the background music. Because I had made those 10 videos summarizing my life, I had forgotten the book. No more rummaging in my past. I had this book (which is now chapter four) under my bed wrapped in ten plastic bags which I tied with a single knot.

- Ten plastic bags?!

- I was afraid that in my parent’s farm house a rat might gnaw at the book or that it would get damp from the humidity and considered that 10 plastic bags would keep it safe. In my arrival in London the book was totally forgotten!

 - I would have wrapped you up inside ten thousand plastic bags if I had known that your intentions were to forget the book! I'm in the book too! I’m glad about what happened in London! Now I love all those bastards! One question: how did you get the idea about ​​going to try to perform in London? Did the studio musician advise you to do that?

- No, he didn’t. It was a voice that came from nowhere that whispered to me in early September 2010, when I drove my car to another recording session at the music studio. At the time I was apprehensive about my future as a singer... I had no band and no experience in live performances. I didn’t know any musicians besides the musician from the studio. I lived in a village. I felt trapped. What would I do when I finished the songs in the studio? For days, weeks and months I had no idea about what to do. Then on that day a voice, for fractions of a second, whispered in my left ear: "London ..." and I said, "Yes!!" I arrived at the studio and shared my plan with the musician. "When I leave here I’m going to go to London to sing!" He let me talk about how much I wanted to go and seemed to be thinking, “Where did you go and get this crazy idea? Did you dream it? Are you leaving your job? You don’t know what you’re talking about!" I talked, talked, talked. In the end I asked him: "What do you think? Is it a good idea or not?" He furrowed his brow slightly like someone who doesn’t want to tell a child that Santa Claus does not exist and said: "Let's finish this song we’ve been working on." Translation: "Let’s return to reality, shall we?"

- Not everyone is strong and a believer like you are, sweetie...

- The musician worked a lot. He worked on numerous songs from different artists’ projects in addition to working on mine, so he usually slept an average of four hours a night. His wife only saw him at the end of the day for dinner and when he went to sleep. For twenty years he hadn’t taken any vacation. His passion is music!

- Where was the recording studio?

- The studio was in the basement of his house. I found him to be a very reflective and cautious person who surrendered to the reality of the cruel world. Not like me. I do not believe in surrendering and I believe in fairy tales. Speaking of being out of reality, do you know what I used to do on Friday and Saturday evenings, on the eve of exams when I was a university student?

- No...What would you do that was so special?

- I would try to relax from the reality of studying! Because university dorm students preferred going home to study on weekends at their parent’s house, I would usually be left alone from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening! The dorms were mine! On these weekends my life came down to studying all morning, then cooking for myself, having lunch, studying all afternoon and having dinner around 8 p.m. ...relaxing! I would watch movies on the cable channel - there were action movies, erotic films and in the wee hours, horror films! In the latter, the plots almost always centered on zombies and vampires resurrecting from graves. It was almost always the same plot which bored me…

- Is that why the plots of horror movies nowadays contain abundant stabbings, axes, chainsaws and endless torture ​​by humans on humans…to keep people from yawning?

- There you go again…always mocking me! Where was I in my humorous life story? Oh yeah! Brazil! I returned from this trip thinking that the singer was the love of my life! My soul mate! That we had been together in another incarnation!

 

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