Since I moved away from my parents’ house nearly 10 years ago, I haven’t cared much for Easter. I never had a religious attachment to it, anyway – it was more about hanging out with family, and with them so far away there in America, the holiday sort of loses its meaning for me. Without trying to be cheesy or anything: I can be with boyfriend and friends, and with their families, and still have a good time… but nothing compares to eating yummy dishes made with my mother’s love, drinking my father’s killer caipirinhas, playing silly videogames with my little brother, watching delightfully brainless Brazilian Sunday TV shows, and then slipping into a food- and liquor-induced slumber lasting well into the evening.
Still, some years ago, one of these rare perfect moments in life happened to me precisely on Easter, and away from my family. I was hanging out alone in my beloved Wilmington, North Carolina, where I lived for three years. I don’t remember anything I did that Sunday other than blissfully being a spectator, on a bright, hope-filled afternoon. Here’s what I posted on my old blog:
“I wrote this today on my cellphone while I observed people walking around the downtown Wilmington riverfront. They looked so peaceful and content. I was by myself, but my own heart was bursting with love and new possibilities. What a gorgeous day! Perfect for Easter’s rebirth theme. I don’t know if this is any good…. I may have been too happy. But here it is, anyway.”
— Easter in Wilmington, by Ana Ribeiro
The day’s peace and the trees
barely swaying contrast
with the river’s fast-moving current.
A father runs after his little
princess, catches her as she tries
to jump across the dry fountain.
Processions of couples and
families of four stroll along
the riverwalk in their Sunday best,
the unspoiled daylight a halo
around each of their heads,
their happy silence
like they never left
like aches and bills
like a day like this could last
This afternoon, the bird songs,
the low drumming of
tiny waves against the deck
is enough melody for them,
the little leaves falling are like
glitter on the toddler’s nose, like
fairy dust to the aging patriarchs.
The lone man in white
breathes in the flower scents,
puts away his cigarettes,
the woman in heels sits on the ground
next to her dog and caresses it as
it takes its time cooling down.
The night comes…
but only eventually.