José, Zeca or just Zé
Each name was perfectly suited to call from the window. To the little – later to become the really quite big – José Augusto Costa Terra.
First, he was called to play with toy soldiers. When older to play football, (which in fact, he actually hated). And later still, to play the guitar.
The person who came down the stairs, from the left hand flat on the 3rd floor of number 10th Rua Castilho, was always the same. But the people calling him weren’t.
José was born after 1974. But did not remember if the following summer had been hot,* nor if Benfica** had been champions. He could, however, remember quite well listening to Chico Fininho*** and the first Portuguese rock bands.
From the day they gave him the old living room radio, he would lie down on the floor of his room, stare at the ceiling and listen to the “Clube do Sargento Pimenta”****. The radio program would keep him company throughout the 80’s, making his days bearable, but his nights special.
José grew up before his time. Not by choice, but because it just went that way. He found little interest in the games and talk of his schoolmates, preferring to have a book under his arm. An interesting friend he could keep safely by his side.
He was an excellent student in all subjects, apart from Physical Education. With little effort, José would receive the highest final grades every year! There really are people like that.
*Processo Revolucionário em Curso - sometimes referred to as “Ongoing Revolutionary Process” and more frequently with the acronym PREC – designates in a broad sense a very poignant period of revolutionary activities in the History of Portugal that took place during the Carnation Revolution, beginning with the military coup on 25th April 1974 and finishing with the approval of the Portuguese Constitution, in April 1976. The term, however, is frequently used to address the critical period of the Hot Summer of 1975, along with the priors and aftermaths, that culminated in the military coup on 25th November. **Sport Lisboa e Benfica, - Is a multidisciplinary sports club based in Lisbon. Its diversity, history and strong fan base make Benfica one of the biggest clubs in Portugal and one of the most prestigious clubs worldwide. Benfica won its fourth hat-trick of championships from 1975 and 1977 reaching the impressive sum of 14 championships in 18 years. ***Rui Manuel Gaudêncio Veloso - was born in Lisbon on the 30th July 1957 and is a Portuguese musician. Singer, composer and guitar player, he began playing the harmonica at the age of 6. Later he would be influenced by B.B. King and Eric Clapton, and in 1980, at 23 years old, he released the album that placed him in the Portuguese music scene, Ar de Rock. One of the album tracks was Chico Fininho, one of the biggest hits for Rui Veloso and his lyricist, Carlos Tê. **** Clube do Sargento Pimenta -The name of the programme is a Portuguese version of the Beatles song title 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'
On the other hand, from his height of almost 2.0 m, he would watch games from the sidelines. People running after a ball seemed to him an affair for the retarded.
He preferred to postpone using his muscles. Until the day he received a classical guitar. It was on that day, when he glued his fingers to the strings, he understood why he had hands.
Using the weekly editions of sheet music showing guitar chord of the best songs, José quickly evolved to group classes and then to individual ones faster than the rest.
After his classes, his homework, and the errands his mother asked him to run, would go to his room, close the door and play for the hours that still remained.
At first, José’s fingers and tendons would complain from the punishment. But it wasn’t long before they also couldn’t wait for those hours of painful happiness. Things remained this way until José realized that a well-played guitar was more effective in getting him a girlfriend than well-kicked kicked ball.
José’s family was normal; everything according to the rules.
A father and mother who worked all year long, saved money, went on holidays in nice places, were involved with their community, helped those in need, and almost always slept the sleep of the just.
Except for José, who didn’t know the rules. Didn’t understand the reason why he had to lead a certain pattern of life. What was or wasn’t acceptable; what was or wasn’t advisable. The word “normal” had the mouldy smell of summer clothes put away still damp.
The best way to keep away the smell of normal was to play his guitar. When is father finally tired of calling him, he’d come into his bedroom and take José to the living room.
But with the high grades José earned every year, he gained a guaranteed acceptance into any university in the country.
The problem lay in understanding what he wanted to do with his life. The months started to go by too quickly, and it did not help that he had to make a decision quickly. José hated being pressured.
However, like a friend was always telling him, José seemed to have been born under a lucky star. While he was returning from a summer festival somewhere in the south of the country, he met a drop-dead gorgeous girl on the train. She, it turned out, was a first year student at the Faculty of Fine Arts**.
Taken by his green eyes, his guitar playing, plus their pseudo-intellectual left wing conversation, she ended up falling into his arms.
This girl, first on the seat opposite and then on the seat beside him, turned out to be a real find. Besides explaining to him that this school was a natural place for free spirits, she kissed tremendously well and had fantastic, round boobs.
It was settled. José would take the Descriptive Geometry and Drawing entrance exams. The results, which arrived at the beginning of September, held no surprises. José was officially a Communication Design student.
José and his parents were happy, as they had reached the end of a stage.
From that day on, he no longer had to stop playing the guitar at dinnertime; he could play it whenever he felt like it, except on Sundays.
There was one thing the girl had forgotten to mention. That the Faculty of Fine Arts was a lot of work. Especially for a person who spent the nights and early hours of both the week and the weekend in the city’s best and worst bars and discos.
José loved to stroll through the city streets when the night was ending.
And when he returned from long outings with friends, he used to compose melodies that would quickly vanish as soon as his body touched the bed.
Some lyrics got mixed up with others, but at the end of the night it was almost irrelevant, they would all sing everybody else’s songs.
Será sempre a subir*
Ao cimo de ti
Só para te sentir
Será no alto de mim
Que um corpo só
Exalta o seu fim
For someone who had never failed at anything, at any moment, to assume that he was living a life parallel to the norms was a new experience, frighteningly mesmerizing. (I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to say here.)
It was impossible to go back.
* Manuela Moura Guedes – pseudonym of Maria Manuela Guedes Outeiro Pereira Moniz (Cadaval, 23rd December 1955) is a television professional and Portuguese singer. The single Flor Sonhada, released in 1981, with lyrics by Miguel Esteves Cardoso Foram Cardos, Foram Prosas, was a success.