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LUIS FERNANDO VERÍSSIMO

O Analista de Bagé (The psychoanalyst from Bagé)

Certain cities just can’t rid themselves of the unfair reputation they have for some reason acquired. Some of the most sensitive and least crude people I know come from Bagé, just as some of the least effeminate come from Pelotas. But it’s no use arguing. These stories about the psychoanalyst from Bagé are most likely fallacious (as the analyst from Bagé himself would say, a fallacious story is a polite lie) but, on second thought, he couldn’t come from anywhere else.
Pues, it is said that the couch in this analyst’s office is covered with a cowhide. He receives his patients barefoot and wearing bombachas.
"Buenas. Come on in and sit yourself down, old feller."
"Would you like me to lie right down on the couch?"
"Well, if my friend would like to dance a marca first, feel free. But I’d rather see a person stretched out and gabbing like a country gal from the borderlands, so we don’t waste time or money."
"Right, right. I…"
"Would you care for a mate?"
"A what? Uh, no. Thank you."
"So, out with it."
"First of all, I’d like to know something. Are you a Freudian?"
"I am and I don’t deny it. More orthodox than goose grease."
"Right. Well. I think my problem has to do with my mother."
"Another one…"
"Another one?"
"Oedipus complex. See more of it than mange on stray dogs."
"Do you think…"
"I think it’s disgusting."
"But…"
"Find yourself a hooker, tchê, and leave the old lady alone!"


Trinta Anos (Thirty years)

They met thirty years later at a party. She smiled and asked, "How are you?"
"Do you know each other?" the hostess inquired.
He didn’t say: "We know each other. In the Biblical sense in fact. She was the love of my life. I almost killed myself over her. I could die right now. Oh, life, life."
He said:
"We do."
"It’s been ages, hasn’t it?" she said.
He sat down next to her. He was moved. He could hardly get it out:
"Thirty years…"
"Wow! Don’t even say that. Makes me feel old."
And she added: "Decrepit."
Strange. She’d gained some weight, of course. Had some wrinkles. But what had really changed was her voice. Or had she always had that shrill voice? Impossible. He remembered all about her. Everything. The love of his life. She was poking his arm.
"Hey, you’re in great shape."
"Whatever happened to you? I mean…"
"Don’t even ask. Did you know I’m a grandma already?"
"No!"
He couldn’t disguise the horror in his voice. But she took it as a compliment. She yelled "Haroldo!" to her husband, who came over with a smile. She introduced him: "This is an old friend of mine.

as translated by Diane Grosklaus