Porta do Sol (Doors of the Sun) Part 2
As promised, here is the end (more or less, adore the Portuguese adore translating literally into English with such results as , ‘How are you?’ ‘More or less.’):
The lady threw her cigarette over the viewpoint and lit another one. Her phone rang and I walked away.
‘No doors and no Sun.’ This time I chose an alley way, moving down towards the river. The tram lines had disappeared too along with the door and the Sun. Perhaps I could find them again. Suddenly I heard a cacophony of bird song in a square with a huge Palm tree pushing up towards the Sun that wasn’t. It was as tall as a Far Far Away tree and framed the stars like in an Arabic fairy-tale. A large woman stepped from a lemon washe building and said, ‘E Frio.’ Fado came from a nearby restaurant. It was watched in silence with the attention of a cortege.
I turned away from the restaurants, ‘If there are no doors and no Sun, where can I find the Portas do Sol?.’ To the left, was a row of ruins, gaping in parallel to the lemon cake perfection of the surrounding square.
‘ Reach for the stars,’ was graffitied in English across the wall. I walked up to the doorframe. There was no door and piles of furniture and beer bottles slumped despairingly shattered across the room. On the wall were painting doors with miniature suns.
I walked up the stairs, still intact, to an open sky. The maze of streets below looked impossible, leading helter-skelter, up, down and across the hill. ‘There’s the stars, but still no Portas de Sol. Wouldn’t you tell me where it is.’The beating of wings began slowly from below, revving up and suddenly rush of air and song swept me up. I fell, euphoric and nauseous, on a marble bench and only saw arrowhead shiver of deep blue swerving down.
The cold bench felt cool as a tomb next to the warm air around. It was delicious across my sweating limbs. I turned to place my temples on it too.
There was a viewpoint of the whole of Alfama below, spires and prettily painted and ruined houses shouldering each other.
A statue of a woman with her hands stretched out stood near my bench and I asked it, ‘Is this the Portas do Sol at last? Without the Doors and without the Sun?’
It turned and I recognised the girl from the Beco D’Imaginacao. Her deep blue dress was almost metallic in the obscure lighting of the square. ‘In fact, there’s no ‘de’ (of) either. There’s only this.’ She waved her hand. At that moment it began to rain and she looked up to welcome up. ‘The Tejo is nostalgic for our cobbled streets and our music. I must join it.’ She opened a great blue umbrella and ran down a stairway stair. As she dipped around invisible corner she seemed to dissolve into river below. Yet, in the postcard I bought the statue is quite different, there is Sun and the doors around are open.