Eduardo sells peppers on Rua Humaitá at the intersection where Rua Martiniano de Carvalho becomes Rua dos Bororós. In front of the meat shoppe. His brother is tall and handsome and he’s headed to the paderia, diagonally across the intersection. For my change. As if using his absence — out of etiquette — Edu tells me that he looks after his brother who is not right in the head. He hands me my change. And speaks to me in English. Edu is proud of his brother’s English.
The first time I saw him, I worried that I would never see him again. Edu wears a handkerchief like a lopsided ascot. A beret, but I don’t look to see if it is an actual beret. He must have a ponytail, a short one under the backward bill. He sits in a lawn chair majestically. On the corner. Holding court. Selling peppers and onions. Bundles of green cooking spices. In their fresh form. The bottles and jars of peppers — arranged in the shopping cart — are each works of composition. He has my favorite bulbous red-orange peppers. Small about the size of the head of a spring onion, the base from which green scallions are shorn. Indeed there are spring onions — only a few — in the jar as well.
He makes another jar of assorted hot onions. I told him that his exuberance for me sampling the ‘chocolate pepper’ he pointed out. In the last jar I bought. Had hurt. But really I just waved at my mouth and mimed pain. I perhaps didn’t want the word for hurt in Portuguese to be misunderstood. I was enjoying their company.
Eduardo is — in my estimation — a pão com ovo. I have explained the first time I heard this term in an article that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I will re-write it a third time.
His brother calls after me with a friendly hello … in English. As I walk fast past them to a meeting in the Center. Are we neighbors?
Edu and his brother. The planter in front of the house. Perhaps put their by a person rather than the city. Does the future scale of the neighborhood — the city — offer them the same ensconced positions?