O Escondidinho (The Hidden One) (Stigma #02)
She looked around, searching for a plaque, but could see none. She continued a little further. To the left, after a few eco-points, a street was emerging, Rua do Forno. She was on the right path. As far as she remembered, she would walk down the street, take the 2nd right, and after a bit, a garage, and then a left.
So she did but arrived in an area that was already far away from everything, just vacant houses, abandoned cars, and narrower and narrower streets. Not knowing what to do, hesitating whether to turn back or rather to embarrass herself by picking up the phone and assuming her own lack of direction, she saw a sign “Travessa do Repouso“. Between a streetlamp and two lampposts, a small sun-worn sign pointing to the left: O Restaurante Escondidinho.
– Geez, I didn’t remember that. This isn’t hidden, this is right on the edge…. – she thought. At the same time, she was relieved that she didn’t have to give a weak side, to confess that she had gotten lost would be an outrage to her past, to her memories.
She had planned to have lunch with a childhood friend. It had been more than 30 years since she had left that city. She replaced it for another, with no shame, no regrets. And so it was. And now, while visiting, they have arranged to have lunch in that restaurant where they once said goodbye, at a dinner with other friends, who have also left in the meantime. Some to other lands, others under it.
She walked in. The room was full. Everything was different from what she remembered. In the old days, it was a simple and welcoming place, especially because of its authenticity. Now it was transformed into a modern space. The walls no longer had pictures of the owner’s parents, the kids on the soccer field, the old church that has since been demolished and is now the supermarket, or the most famous picture of the owner himself on top of a pig, looking stupid and suffering.
The walls now had a huge slate board with the menu written in chalk, in overly ornate handwriting, plus a painting imitating Miró and a picture of the Eiffel Tower and another of Big Ben.
She looks at the menu. The prices have also gained the European dimension of the walls.
Where she lives, there is also an Escondidinho. But this one is still surviving modern times. It still remains genuine. It still has an identity. It still has dignity.
Her friend arrives. He, at least, still retains that identity. You recognize him as you always were. Will he find the same about you? Has she, in the big city, unnoticed, lost her dignity?
Author: Carlos Norton
Technical Data Sheet
Sound recorded with Roland CS-10 EM binaurals
O Escondidinho (Carvoeiro, municipality of Lagoa) (02.09.23 ; 13:15)
Recording sitting at the waiting area/bar counter.
Published on 09/03/2023
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