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[FM20] A Simple Man

Yashin de Souza is a simple man, who's given up on his dreams to raise a family and have a normal life. Now, divorced and near the completion of his 50th anniversary, he has been heavily struck by a midlife crisis.
Started on 21 June 2020 by Tango
Latest Reply on 8 July 2020 by TheLFCFan
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Tango's avatar Group Tango
3 weeksEdited

A Simple Man of Simple Dreams

Pilot

Disclaimer:
In the last few days I've been bored to be managing the same team over the same championships over and over again. I've been having the idea for this story for quite a while now, and I think that if I can interchange this story with the Gimnasia's story, I can avoid it getting dull for me. And, if it gets dull for me, I'm afraid it will get dull for you guys as well.

So, no, the Gimnasia story won't stop. There is still plenty of stories to tell and we will reach Estudiantes. But I want to do something different from times to times.

In this story, I'll focus on the development of the character. There will be moments when FM will be secondary on the story, and in others, FM will only be an instrument for the story.

If the Gimnasia story is focused entirely on a club, here I won't attach my character to anything. He will be jumping from spot to spot, looking for what's best for his career and his story.

You know those days when you wake up, look at everything you own, and then feel glad about everything that you have accomplished?

Me neither.

I mean, I’m not a sad man. I have a wife, I have my children, I have a job and not a bad one. But when I compare everything that I achieved at the age of 50 with the things I dreamt of achieving by now, my life turns out to be a lot different.

I’d maybe never think about it weren’t for my father. Whenever I think about how I had dreams when I was younger, I remember him speak:

- Dreams are useless, son. They are not meant for people like us.

The young me chose to disagree. I was a dreamer, and my father’s opinion could not stop me.

I grew up in Brasília, and life was not bad. My father made a lot of money working in the construction of the city, established in 1960 to be the brand new capital of Brazil, so he could provide the family conditions that he could never have for himself.

The construction of the Explanada dos Ministérios, Brasília. Ph: Marcel Gautherot

The government put up a lot of efforts to bring workers to the new capital. Established in the Central Plains, in the heartland of the country, Brasília rose in a region that remains not much populated to this day, so the government of Juscelino Kubitchek brought people from all over the country. My father grew up in poverty, in the outskirts of São Luís, in the state of Maranhão, and found in the construction of the new capital an opportunity to give his family better conditions.

And he succeeded, to a certain extent.

Back to the life growing up, my first dream was to be a football player. Well, that’s the ultimate dream of any kid really, to be a great footballer and to one day wear the yellow shirt so admired in the year of 1970, the year I was born. I'd come back from school and go right to the streets, where I'd meet my friends and we would kick around a ball made of a pack of old socks folded together in a round shape. We would play until our mothers would show up with their sandals on their hands, ordering everyone to get back home for dinner.


Ph: PRAIA GRANDE, BRAZIL - 2014, JUNE 17: Kids playing ball on the streets. (Photo by Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)

This dream never came to become a thing, really. I was not among the most talented kids in my school, and when school was over, I had to find a job.

I started working at Mr. Armando’s bakery when I was 17. I had a lot of functions in there: I had to receive the shipments, sign the invoice, carry the bags of flour to the kitchen, and finally, bake the bread. The young me used to admire Mr. Armando. I used to look up to him as an example of entrepreneurship, and I dreamt of one day, having my own business.

After telling Mr. Armando to fuck off – I'll develop about this story later, but, long story short, I got tired of being underpaid to work like a horse – I felt I could get into the university. It was only fair to take the test and have a real life dream, right?

With a real-life dream, I carried on and took the test to join the Federal University in Uberlândia, in the state of Minas Gerais, in 1988. I graduated in 1992. And well, my dream was to find a job and provide to my family.

After I graduated, this has been my life. Working as principal in a public school in Sinop, a city that brought me a lot of bitterness, but sometimes they remember to pay my salary, and I try to live with it.

But some months from now I’m becoming 50, and I’m sick and tired of the life I’ve been having. Don’t take me wrong, life is not bad, but since the divorce I feel absolutely no need to keep living a mediocre life.
Great to see you keeping on with two stories now with a great first entry here. I love the photos from South American football, particularly with the kids playing on the streets - really powerful love for the game over there and it is beautiful to see.
Echoing what Jack has said, a fantastic OP. I'm looking forward to seeing how this story unfolds. It will certainly bring a different dynamic to your other story and I welcome this.

Years of Lead

Prologue, part 1

by Yashin de Souza

I believe that the story of my life begins 10 years before I was even born, and it has everything to do with the city of Brasília. Not only because my dad migrated there, but the history of the city has everything to do with my story.

I explain: Brasília was a huge project. It involved constructors, contractors, designers, city planners, landscape designers, and any sort of professional a project that big would require, creating around eighty thousand jobs.

Draft of the Pilot Plan, the core of Brasília. Ph: Relatório do Plano Piloto de Brasília, 1957.

The big public spending of those times gave a lot of people the hope of finally changing their lives. For the national bourgeoisie, however, it was a waste of public resources. I never knew when or why these complaints about public spending turned into accusations of corruption, nor if these accusations were real. It’s funny to remember how the absurd “corruption scandals” of the 1960s have faded away from the mind of the general people. Thinking in retrospective, now I’m not even sure if they were true. My memory can betray me, and the facts I’ll describe here might not be exactly accurate with the real life. All I want is to tell you how these facts have shaped my life.

Accusations of corruption, however, speak to the core of people. They feel robbed, angry, revolted. And those feelings are hard to dissuade. In 1960, the conservative Jânio Quadros was elected as the president of Brazil after a bizarre political campaign, in which he would show up at the TV with a broom, claiming that he would sweep away all the filth in the public administration. His erratic attitude turned him into a joke quite rapidly, and it didn’t help his political support when he decorated Che Guevara with the Order of the Southern Cross. Remember: Jânio Quadros was a conservative.


Jânio Quadros and his broom. Ph: uncredited

Other controversies, such as the lunatic idea of annexing the French Guyana, or the rightful annulment of an illegal concession of mining rights for an American mining company, contributed to the rapid degradation of his position and his consequential resignation in August 1961.

His successor would be his vice-president, João Goulart, or Jango, member of the PTB, a labor party – do not confuse with today’s PT, the workers’ party. If PTB rises today as a tiny far-right party and the only institutional party supporting Bolsonaro in 2020, at given time they were centre-left, and the government of a leftist party in Brazil scared the shit out of the conservatives and the local elites, who rushed to create ways of stopping a “revolution”, as if there were any risk of that happening. It is consensus among scholars that Jango was a reformist.

João Goulart planned more than anything to be a successor of the legacy of Juscelino Kubitchek, ridiculously far away of any attempt of a revolution of the proletariat. Brazilian elites, however, created many illegal instruments to stop Jango from being a president: first, they created a parliament, that didn’t exist until then. Apart from National Congress, the parliament would be a parallel government, that would stop Jango from doing anything they didn’t like.

Second, in an operation that just recently was disclosed as a partnership with the CIA, the military launched troops to Rio de Janeiro, in retaliation to a recent uprising of some low patent marines and a strong speech from the president, appointing a plot against his presidency. Fearing a blood bath that would lead into a civil war, Jango fled to Uruguay and the military seized the power in April 1st, after National Congress declared the president seat vacant. Due to the comic character of the date they actually staged the coup, fascists celebrate the coup d'état at March 31st to this day.

Assassinations, torture, restrictions to political rights and unjustified arrests were the M.O. of the dictatorships in Latin America. Ph: Wikimedia Commons

I wasn’t born when the military overthrew the government of president Jango, but I grew up with the consequences of the military dictatorship. In 1974, when I was still 4, my father went missing for a while. I don’t remember anything about that time, and my mother won’t tell me details about it. All she tells me is that when he came back, he was not the same man.

When I was born, my parents were both 17. They were affiliated to the PCB, the communist party, a party that became quite popular in Brazil after Stalin defeated the nazis. All memories that I have about my father, however, indicate that he was a strong supporter of the military regime. And every time my father said anything in favor of the dictatorship, my mom would yell at him, saying that she couldn’t stand such comments and threatening to leave him. Her threats never came true, as my father committed suicide in 1982.

Hundreds of thousands of people protesting for the right to vote in 1984. Ph: Marcelo Prates

After my father died, my mom took me and my siblings and moved in with her brother in Sinop, in the middle of nowhere in the state of Mato Grosso. Remember my dreams? Well, forget them. Sinop was far away from anything I dreamt of earlier. The city stands in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by crop fields, forest, and some small towns. And what happened there... Well, it's a topic for another story.

Replies

@Jack I see myself in those pictures. When I was a kid I used to get back from school and play ball until like 9pm. For me, those pictures are not only a depiction of the love for the game, but a symbol of the people fighting for the right to the city in their struggle against car-oriented city planning

@ScottT I hope one story helps me to keep the other alive for longer, just by not getting bored
Really shows the colourful, bloody and volatile political situation in Brazil that is still continuing to an extent with Jairo Bolsonaro as a populist. As for this story, it seems like home is now in Sinop!
What I really enjoy about your stories are the education of subjects I'm not entirely familiar with. It is a country with a great history, especially politically that is still to this day in strange times. I am looking forward to this new story of yours!
Another fantastic update. Your writing is entertaining and engaging. You have me wanting more!
Tango's avatar Group Tango
2 weeksEdited

My life under the Sun

Prologue, part 2


Life anywhere in the Brazilian heartland is characterized by the constant heat. The seasons are not divided according to the weather, because it’s hot for the whole year. Instead, they have two seasons: rainy and drought, the season of the planting and the season of the harvest. In Sinop, therefore, there is the time of the year when you burn for the whole day and get some relief with the rain at the end of the day - and it will rain almost every day - and the time of the year when your skin burn without relief.

Back when I moved there, it was pure desolation, dust and a burning Sun. The city was still a town, and its population consisted in people moving from South willing to buy farmland for almost nothing and some small business owners supplying to these people. The name of the town, that doesn't sound at all like any word in portuguese, is an acronym, standing for Sociedade Imobiliária do Noroeste do Paraná (Real State Society of Paraná Northwest), Paraná being the southern state where most of the people living here came from.

Sinop sits 500km north of the capital of the state of Mato Grosso, so the supply of basic needs was complicated. The only connection with the rest of the country was a huge straight line dirt road. Brazilian train lines are yet to go that far. Because of these complications, goods are overpriced, even though the salary levels are not particularly higher when compared with the rest of the country.

As soon as I got there, uncle Zé told me that, as the oldest, I had to work. I refused to work with him at the farm, so I stayed in the city where I found a job in Mr. Armando’s bakery. Armando was one of these migrants coming from down south, son of a Portuguese family with traditional bakeries in the state of São Paulo.I work there for a couple of months and it all went well for a while, until the tropical storms flooded the city and my way to work.

Floods in Brazilian cities remain a huge summer problem. Ph: SóNotícias

After rushing and struggling for a while to get to the bakery, I found myself stranded on the flooded streets. My motorcycle couldn’t advance, nor turn around. I was isolated and had to wait until the rain ceased and the streets quickly dried out.

When I got to the bakery, Mr. Armando was pissed off:

- How can you be so late to work, you little brat? Do you know how many bags of flour I had to carry? All of that because of a lazy worker, I knew I shouldn’t hire you; people like you are all lazy, fucking lazy people! I should have hired some black people; they know how to work! I’m never hiring bugres again!

I wish I could stand up to him and say what I was thinking. Hell, that wasn’t my fault! And then he proceeds to be racist with two categories at the same time, blacks and natives. I wish I could say something. I wish I had grabbed him by the ear and rubbed his face to the hot tarmac of the street. But I just went home.

Life went on like that for a while. Bouncing around through jobs, never anywhere stable, until I finished high school and passed the test to join the Federal University of Uberlândia. Far away from home, my uncle didn’t want to let me go, but mom intervened:

- Zé, he’s not your fucking child. Fuck off. And you, son, you go find prosperity and happiness. You’re a smart kid, smarter than I’d ever hope you’d be. Fly, my son, don’t worry about me.

The expectations of finding a job after graduation went down the drain. Brazil was an especially hard country to live in when I graduated in 1992. After years of growing inflation started in the Juscelino Kubitchek period and potentialized by the military presidents, succeeded flawed attempts by the liberals to stop the inflation caused the economy to shrink. In a shrinking economy, the demand for a recently graduated PE professional were minimal. I was forced to get back to Sinop.


If you want to see a Brazilian boomer cringe, just show up with these machines at their local supermarket. Ph: Estadão

Life in Sinop stopped to be shit for a while during the period of the workers’ party. Profiting from a fortunate boom of the price of commodities such as the soybean, the region prospered and experienced huge growth because of its vast area of farmland. In a booming economy, I could find myself a job as a PE teacher in a local public school.

Until the event I will talk about in the next episode, life went on uneventful for quite a while. I married, I had kids, I got promoted to principal and I was living a life on autopilot waiting for retirement.

Replies

@Jack tradition says that Brazil will have a conservative dictatorship each 30 years, so this train has come on time
@TheLFCFan it is a country that went from the top to the bottom so quick I couldn't follow. I'll try to approach more recent times in the next episodes
@ScottT thanks! It is always nice to know :)
A very nice update once more. I wonder if something is going to turn around for you to get you out of your auto pilot lifestyle!
A story of a seemingly aimless man in a very unappreciative world around him. Time to take the initiative I think.
It seems that life has began to settle. I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more of this tale to see though. ;)

She doesn’t love me back

Introduction, part 1

If I knew that the only thing I needed to do to feel a little bit of freedom was to sign the words Yashin de Souza on a sheet of paper, I’d done it sooner. It is official. For all good and bad reasons, I’m divorced. I thought that I’d be sad right now, like the divorcees in those Statunitian - the correct word for what Statunitians call "Americans" - sitcoms – are we still using this word?

But I don’t feel sad. I feel like I’m doing the right thing for myself after years of sacrifice. This feeling was a lot different from the feeling I had when I met Sara at the university in 1989. I thought it was going to be forever. There was fire, there was passion, there were affection and care. Now, it is all ice, and no relationship survives this.

Please, don’t go blaming Sara for it. She did not do anything to me. I mean, she did, but that was not the problem. The problem is what we did to ourselves: for 29 years, we sacrificed everything we dreamt of, everything we wanted to have, to offer our children a future. But now, in the final days of 2019, the three of them have graduated from university and have left our house.

Tomas, the oldest, left 10 years ago. He is married, has a kid, works in a multinational company, and tries to send me money every single time I complain about anything. I had to stop complaining because of him, so I lost one of my favorite hobbies.

Now that Ramona found herself a job in São Paulo, it was only Sara and me in an empty house. And every time I looked at Sara I had the feeling that the house was getting emptier. It’s reciprocal: I don’t love her, and she doesn’t love me back. We spent our younger days working our asses for our children, and we forgot to cherish our relationship; now it’s too late.

That’s why I wasn’t mad at her for cheating on me with a man 20 years younger than her. I tried to be mad, I tried to feel the anger that a man should feel in those circumstances, but all I felt was an opportunity: let’s just split, let’s sign the papers and get over it. She will get to live with her younger stud, and I’ll try to live for myself for once.

And, more importantly, since she officially cheated on me, I get to stay with the house.

Replies

@TheLFCFan nothing like a shock to shake things up a bit

@Jack the initiative kinda took itself

@ScottT I wouldn't be telling it otherwise, would I?
A big life changer in your life. Could this be the catalyst for a better change?
Christ, that's quite an age-gap!
The joy in his voice is almost palpable when he realises he gets to keep the house :))

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