Silent Paths tells the story of Israel Morelli, a young, photogrphy lover and Journalism student from Porto Alegre, who sets out in a journey in search for his unknown identity and the carefully kept secrets of his mother Ana. He is determined to find out about the story of his father Dario, as well as the man’s relationships and premature death. Impetuous and impulsive, he abuses of his youth in his relationship with Vicente, his only uncle, whom is not embarrassed to demonstrate his dislike to Israel’s staying in his house, a property on the side of Inferno River, in Lagoa Bela’s countryside.
The story, told through Israel’s eyes, is merged by little passages of Vicente’s life, who, just like Israel, plunges into contrasted feelings as the truth about his past comes out. Bit by bit, Israel conquers Vicente’s fondness and hurl both their lives in intense, deep events.
The novel has a psychological approach and highlights the dimension of existence itself. Israel, who at first finds himself frail before Vicente, discovers himself to be a determined, strong man, able to fight all adversities interposed in his path.
Written by Evelyn E. Postali
Translated by Kaio Souza
Part 1 – Chapter 1
Under the hot sunshine, hunger was pressing on. I should have listened to Lúcia, the grocery store’s owner. Eating before a distance such like this was a matter of survival, but the rush to arrive became so much stronger that my stomach was in the background, for I don’t mind following with the same obstinacy. I only cared to overcome the distance to Vicente Morelli’s house.
During the first four or five miles, I found no living soul and the sunshine was chastising my eyes. I treaded slowly because it would not be good entering a wrong road.
The man who stopped to give me information was headed to the opposite direction and did not show much sympathy toward me.
“Please! Sir!” I yelled, after stopping the motorcycle and taking my helmet off.
I even got to make a “please, stop” prayer, almost begging for the guy did not seem to appreciate a prose, as Grandma would say. He eyed me with his serious looking.
“Do you happen to know where Vicente Morelli’s house is?”
Those dirt roads would engulf the walkers who, unwarned, tried to cross them carelessly. The man stared at me. The question was a simple one. Just a yes or a no. If he answered, a new question would form in my chatty mouth. He relieved me of that anguish, and then answered, with a full explanation.
“You have to follow this road until you find the chapel. Then the route narrows and forks itself. You take the left fork till the end.”
He turned around, pointing the way, while his obedient horse didn’t move a single muscle.
“Thank you,” I said, putting my helmet on. I didn’t hear anything in reply and so I moved on. In the rearview mirror, I could see him until I lost sight of him, when I took a sharper curve.
A story like that would score points in my favor in the “making friends laugh and think of the grandiosity of a beautiful lie” matter. They were simply like that, Pedro and Cláudio, who used to say that the stories I told were worthy of trophies. However, no story can be considered ordinary when it is lived in its whole intensity.
Common stories don’t exist for none, really, may be so considered. Telling a story is but telling a piece of us, since the words give life to the facts, especially if we were part in whole or in part of them.
And this story had nothing ordinary about it. Of course not!, I told myself indignantly, looking around, while the landscape running past me seemed not to change, in contrast with my thoughts that did change. All that grass seemed to be always passing through my eyesight again and again.
But of course, it’s not an ordinary story, Israel.
I saw the mentioned chapel rising through the trees, simple and shy.
I felt throbbing through my body the certainty that nothing that I would live from that day on would be common. Not in any way. Starting with the small town through which I stopped by to ask information. And now I was there, before a stone chapel, with a modest hall built on the left side and a bell tower which moss on the base alluded to a temporal, secular humidity.
I found myself at the end of the world, or something like that. Sure enough, the most frequented place at the weekends.
I would have to go back in order to register everything, photographing and taking notes. My ambition wasn’t quite different than anyone else’s. The idea of becoming a writer, in addition to a photographer, intoxicated my mind in the dead of the night, as I sat myself before the typewriter, on the desk that had belonged to my grandfather, Captain Resende. Not being able to stop to explore the place anguished me, but I had to keep going.
If the way to “the Depths” do exist, it would have that inclination, covered by the canopies of the fifteen feet tall dark-leafed trees, with vines hanging down to their bases and loose stones making everything worse. That road would most certainly lead me to the gates of Hades themselves.
In the final part, the solution would be to hold my motorcycle if I wanted to save gasoline, because if I needed to climb all that distance, I would have to do it in first engine, according to the grocery store’s owner. He had warned me about what I would face. If I had listened to her and stopped to eat something at the restaurant of the small hotel on the main—and almost unique—avenue, an hour ago, I wouldn’t be there, before the final piece of my journey.
I descended a hazardous abyss. I had to walk the motorcycle because, besides wanting to save fuel, I was afraid to be knocked down. My legs trembled and that narrow path demanded for respect. I fastened the helmet to an elastic tied to the seat, and, adjusting my backpack, I stared at it.
“If this isn’t the path to the Hades, certainly, it takes a hell close to it.”
I smiled for I was amazed at the sound of my own voice in that quietness.
The path was barely enough for a person to walk. It would be impossible for two people to walk side by side.
I heard every stone crushed by my motorcycle wheels and by my feet. And if stopped a bit, I would hear the song of birds far away. There my story would begin.