Die another day, a short story

It was a sunny and hot December day. So high was the temperature in Fortaleza that it was almost impossible to walk on the streets. My friend Melissa and I entered a tiny and cozy bar near the beach so that we could have a private chat without being interrupted. Because her totally unexpected call a week before, I had been anxious to talk to her since my arrival in Ceará.

My friend had moved to Fortaleza two years before to work as an international business consultant in a company that exported flowers to Europe. A couple of months after her arrival in the city she met Carlos, one of the directors of the corporation, and they fell in love at first sight. Three months later, they got married to each other.

Everything seemed to be absolutely perfect until last week, when Melissa called. It was late of night and she begged me to go to Fortaleza as soon as I could. She was so nervous that I got really worried. I asked her what was going on, but she did not answer me.

–  I can’t tell you right now, Olívia – replied Melissa, in a desperate voice. – Please, come to Fortaleza as soon as you can. I really need your help and I desperately need my best friend here.

She left me so apprehensive that I decided to meet her. On the following day, as soon as I got at my office, I explained the situation to my partner and decided to take some days off.  Some days after her calling, I was on a plane heading to Ceará. I really could not figure out what was going on. At the moment I saw her skinny figure I got even more apprehensive. She was absolutely down in the blues. It also seemed that she had been crying recently.

– Melissa, please… can you tell me what the hell is going on? – I asked as soon as I got close to her.

–  Come with me – answered her, grabbing my hand. – We gave to get out of here immediately so that we can talk. – completed her mysteriously.

At that point, not only was I worried, but I was also absolutely curious about what she was going to tell me. However, I had to wait a little bit more. She was completely mute  in the cab while we were riding to her place. After leaving my luggage on her apartment, we went for the bar so that she could tell me what her problem was. When we arrived there, we took a seat on the corner of the bar, ordered some cocktails and she finally began to talk.

–  Olívia, you will not believe me… – said her.

These words were the beginning of a surprising story, something from her past that was about to come out. Something she had never told anybody, including me; something I absolutely had no idea. Neither did Carlos.

–    When I moved from the USA back to Porto Alegre five years ago, I was actually running away from my past – Melissa began explaining.

The more she told me, the more surprise I got. The past she was trying to hide from everybody was so unbelievable that it seemed to be part of a movie. Melissa had been married to the most famous and wanted bank robbers in the United States. The guy had stolen million of dollars in the past not only for himself, but also for a lot of people. Indeed very rich men. When he was caught and the truth came out, Melissa got absolutely shocked since she had any idea about his business.  He had always told her he had inherited a fortune from his parents, that had died in a car accident.

Because it has been proved  Melissa was not aware of her ex-husband activities, the FBI made a deal with her. If she helped them to arrest the guy, she would be considered innocent and she would  enter the Witness Relocation Program. She accepted the deal and then she moved to Brazil with a new identity and the desire to begin a whole new life.

At this point of her story, I was breathless. I could never imagine something like that. So astonished was I by the surprising news that I could not say a single word.

–  Unfortunately, somebody else knows this story  – Melissa said. – I received a call from the FBI a couple of weeks ago and the officer advised me to take care because they found out that my ex-husband is probably trying to find me. I really don’t know what to do. Should I tell Carlos? I am deeply afraid of his reaction. Because I never told anything to him, I think we will be very disappointed at me.

–    I think you’d better tell him the truth. He is your husband, he loves you and I believe the only thing he will never forgive is a lie. Melissa, you were a victim. He will understand your situation. Don’t be afraid, dear.  Besides, I should tell him before someone else does it.

I was obviously shocked, but it was necessary to help Melissa at that moment. Not until I had calmed her down and convinced her to tell Carlos the truth, did we leave the bar. I also guaranteed her I wouldn’t tell that secret to anyone else till I died.

Escrita em 2005 nas inspiradas aulas do teacher Mario Galinatti.