An excerpt from “Narcisa”
“The sick woman especially: no one surpasses her in refinements for ruling, oppressing, tyrannizing.” — Nietzsche
Carnaval was over. Weeks went by. The city of Rio de Janeiro was slowly going back to its normal pace. My life with Narcisa, however, was its own Dark Carnaval of progressive weirdness now. Suddenly, I realized since I’d picked her off the ho-stroll and fallen into Narcisa’s mad trajectory, three whole months had flown by in a surreal haze of passion and drama; a relentless flurry of endless days and nights of terror and danger and unrestrained passions and impending mental collapse.
Sometimes though, between Narcisa’s grueling soul-shattering week-long crack missions, I’d still try to take her out to a movie or for a walk on the beach at night; something safe and stable and normal like a simple quiet água de côco sitting under a palm tree by the gentle waves under vital summer moonlight.
Things were steadily getting worse though, I knew, as I realized she wanted to do that sort of thing less and less. I was getting worse too, of course, I admitted reluctantly, as I watched myself like some distant impartial observer running back and forth from the zona to the volatile favela war zones at all hours of day and night, buying and selling drugs and bartering stolen goods for Narcisa.
I knew that I was sinking deeper and deeper into a dark dangerous vortex of petty crime and constant self-doubt and trouble in my frantic effort to keep her voracious crack habit sated. I even feared for my sanity, my own sobriety at times — even though I somehow never felt the urge to pick up a drug myself. But things were getting bad any way you sliced it. That much I knew for certain.
And still, a day at a time, I carefully persistently lovingly tended to Narcisa like a flickering dying flame; still trying desperately to pretend for the moment that everything was fine, that everything was going to go back to normal and turn out all right somehow.
We both knew it wouldn’t be all right. But when all that’s left is the power to pretend, you take what you can get and just do the best you can with it. Narcisa’s malady was progressing, I conceded sadly. She was getting steadily worse, stealthily deteriorating, as was my own seemingly insignificant weakness — my addiction to her and everything that went with it. Soon I realized that my life with Narcisa had now been reduced to a sordid little comedy of four-hour shifts of worried solitude and prayer, broken up only by two to three hour periods we would finally spend together fucking like angry baboons. Or fighting. As if anything we fought about even mattered anymore.
More and more often, I noticed as the days and weeks slithered by that Narcisa was regularly going completely off her head. She would slip away into this crazed excited hyperactive manic mode now whenever she was high, suddenly transforming herself into some crazy alien deity, dancing a wild crazy sensual extraterrestrial angry goddess dance for hours and back-bending hours on end, jumping and writhing and gyrating madly around the cramped little apartment with the music blasting away at top volume… tweeked… spun… musica musica go go go!
I loved it, I realized; and I hated it too at the same time — like everything else about Narcisa whenever she jumped into that mad compulsive Go Go Mode. But like everything else about Narcisa, I concluded, I simply couldn’t change it now even if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. And I certainly couldn’t escape it either, I came to discover. I knew without a doubt now that I was completely and hopelessly strung out on Narcisa’s mad love spell; consumed and drowning in a raging sea of desperate confusion and steadily diminishing hope. And still weakly clinging, still hoping all the while that it would somehow all get better one day. Of course, it never did.