LA GRANDE MESURE

Nothing about our days can be described as out of the ordinary.

Still, her presence reigns every corner of the house, a live reliquary

of almost memorable memories. Every morning between eight and

eight thirty seven the living room gilds with languid rays of light,

and you can see the inertness dancing with the dust. For a brief

moment, everything is red and gold, like fake plastic nails or old

powder brushes, or any of her secret guilty pleasures. Like a very

polite butterfly, and her voice comes crossing the house. “Who

wants to hear a happy song?” she asks uninterested in any coming

answers, right before Henry Mancini fills the room. The dust takes

off the tablecloth only to fall back on it shortly after. Sometimes it

takes a couple of seconds. Sometimes, a few decades.

 

She likes the tablecloths blue enough so that fishes can swim in it.

Once, I swam with them. It was a windy Saturday and the wind had

flown me all the way from Nova Scotia. She will always welcome us

the same way: a long hug, no smile, a short shot of red thick juice

served in a crystal wine glass. Behind her, a hurricane absorbs all

the ashes of the cigarettes she will light up but never smoke. That

day I had arrived late, missing our weekly round of ¨Blear the

Bust¨, our indecorous family game which consisted of performing

different sorts of perversions to an american white statue that we

used to call Mr. White – no one at that table would know that the

tortured bust was, in fact, Mozart’s. As I arrived late, I had to sit

quiet and wait. From the corner of my eye I watched her. We would

have stew and she was dressing up the fish: oranges, grapefruit,

lace, jewelry – these pearls are marvellous, her voice crossing the

house like a wildfire. I felt liquid, as liquid as the blue tablecloth,

and swam among sea basses and oysters. By the time the stew was

ready, my hair was dripping wet, Mr. White had lost his sight, and

we had all readily taken our seats around the table. Cutlery sounds,

distant splashes, beating wings, glazed laughter.

We never knew what the juice was made of. At times, the recipes

just ruin the flavour.

photographs
JERO CEREZO
art direction 
ALESSANDRA BALLOTTA 
LAIS VIEIRA
words 
IASA MONIQUE