Calm

Nothing can satisfy the worst of all animals. A woman is not enough to feed the vanities of the grown man, a car is not enough, a house is not enough, a dog, a cat, an ostrich, a sparrow, a bird, a kick, a punch, a journey. Nothing can satisfy the worst of all animals. You have a love but you wish for another: one at home, another in the streets. You know the word happiness but you always say no, that you don’t know it, that it doesn’t exist, that it is not possible for such a utopia to be real. The little you have is not enough but you’ll never have that much.

Nothing can satisfy the worst of all animals. And we possess so little, we are so small, so ant-like, so bug-like. We look so often at our bellybutton we don’t even notice the moment when the fat covered our view of the hole of birth. We are so short-sighted.

Every cloud has a silver lining. This sentence must not be included in any of the great works of world literature. It is such an untrue sentence that it makes the thought of this animal that cannot be satisfied shiver. You think: something’s bad, yes it is, but I want to change, I want to fix this bad thing with something worse. One would rather not make that bad linger on, knowing that only a false good is looking out of every window. Everything could be different if only one would believe that an evil is bad enough to be replaced by a good that will turn into bad. The normal is to accumulate evils and misfortune up until the very end, without ever coming upon satisfaction. But, there you go, as soon as an evil is done with, that sentence comes to mind: every cloud has a silver lining. You think that there will come something better, something bigger. And the strange thing is, you miss some evil, as if that evil was God, or religion, or the everlasting life of a young spirit. Make no mistake: an evil is a woman, it is a pocket emptied of all expensive bills. God does not play in these games of unfulfillment.

The norm: getting married, having children, accumulating precious stones, leading a comfortable life, and thinking that you’d give all of that up for little nothings such as the efemerity of feelings or affection. The worst of all animals should never have invented the chair, it should have never invented the porch bench. Those are object that create a false sense of calm.


Paulo Ferreira was born in 1984. He has a degree in History from the University of Lisbon and a Masters in Contemporary History. In 2009, he published a book called  A Prisão do Ético (Short Story). He took part in the anthologies Contos de Algibeira (2007) and Primeira Antologia de Microficção Portuguesa (2008). He has just released Dicionário das Distâncias (Short Story) and received a doctoral grant.

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