The infant universe is obviously wonderful and charming as we can see when getting involved, either by playing games or in daily relationship with the small creatures that inhabits it, or even reading stories like the Brothers Grimm, so filled with symbolism.
These little beings, pure and simple as they are, sometimes impress us with their maturity by actions. They are not old enough to understand or use words and metaphors. However, they are sensitive and open in a way that adults are not able to be, as we are already deeply immerse in the complexity and artificiality of the society in which we live, which is full of rules and taboos.
We should look at children as possibilities for us to recover at least a little of the purity that has been tainted by our egos, so desirous of power and status. And not only that. The sincere and pure form in wherein they express themselves also demonstrates their attitude towards the world. If they can face anything in a simple and obvious way, why can’t we do the same? I even believe that the urban , modern and collective life could be lighter, with less stress, if the individual would seek to face the situation with more simplicity and objectivity, qualities today ignored, left to the dogs.
Now, I am going to tell you a very precious story, full of symbolism and subtle details, often unnoticeable by the less attentive reader. Pay close attention to it, because you are hardly ever going to hear a similar one . It’s unique and memorable, just like its main character and star: Raphael. Such character touches all who he has been in contact with and does so in such a way that leaves deep and indelible marks in their hearts.
Raphael. Keep that name.He’s two years old, has two lovely brothers and very affectionate and responsible parents. He’s the owner of some of the most striking features you will ever see. He’s got black eyes, which are thick, deep and hard as a rock that resists the force of the tide. He’s got smooth fair hair, cheeks soft as cotton and is quite small for his age. He doesn’t speak much, but observes a lot. And, to complete the basic description, he’s got a spontaneous smile, so marvelous that seems like happiness in raw state, almost utopian.
I hope to have given you a better idea of who is this treasure which is so protected and guarded by his parents.
He surprised me from the very beginning. Primarily, for his spontaneity, and later for his facial expression, complex and full of mysteries. He definitely isn’t an ordinary child. The small Raphael is an extremely good observant, attentive to his surroundings, aware of people who engage with him and also how they act towards him. He never opens up to someone, not allowing even a smile, if he doesn’t trust and feel comfortable with that person. It may seem a cold reaction, but deep down it’s a smart way to deal with people, especially when you are three years old and emotionaly susceptible to external influences.
The little angel showed me more than just confidence and friendship. By living with him, I could see that children can also be a source of great and deep learning. I did not hear him talk much and indeed he did not yet have adequate ability to express himself through sentences. He could only make use of isolated words. Nonetheless, his deep look, with those “big black balls” (his eyes), expressed all he wanted and even a bit more. Making eye contact with him was like looking at the infinite and what would bring me back to reality was his smile. I wish I could smile like that. Yet, better than smiling like him was feeling the joy overflowing within me whenever I got touched by such a beautiful expression of happiness. Each time he was smiling or grinning I felt like I wanted to laugh and cry of joy until I couldn’t take it anymore, such was his influence upon me. It is impossible to forget all the moments I lived with him because, despite having made me feel alive and radiant, they had also a timeless character. I’m saying that since such moments are so alive inside me and also part of my vision and understanding of the world, that it seems as if there was only what is real, alive within us, regardless of past or future, thus timeless.
After a few months this boy became both my best friend and a faithful companion to me. An exchange of glances or even going for walk with him was worth more than most people could offer. Time seemed to stop when we would go to the lake, sit on the pier and watch the birds, sailboats, and the beautiful mountain landscape surrounding us. He was always willing to make these tours and walks. Once in a while we would take some fruit to feed to the ducks and, of course, he loved to do so. He seemed to radiate happiness, as if feeding the birds was more grand and gratifying than winning a new toy.
That’s why I tell you to pay attention to these great little beings. He had a great sense of duty. If you asked him something, even if it was to be made a week later, he would remember and do it. I had the habit of “trocar figurinhas” with him, which means, that if I did something good for him he would return my favour. One example: sometimes, at night, I would ask him to wake me up the next day and he would go into in my room, open the door himself, come to my bed and give me a kiss on the cheek and say: “Pipipi, wake up!”. Nevertheless, before making my request, I would massage him. He had, and perhaps still has, a pain on his back, reason that I felt compelled to massage him every night before he went to sleep. The situation was happy and sad at the same time. Anyways, he was so cute and nice that I felt like I had to please him every night in order to ease his pain.
Raphael. Keep that name! A boy who loves nature, animals, the beauty of things, the good moments with his loved ones and most importantly: being a child. A great little boy, who earned my respect and my friendship.
I’ve traveled a lot in Europe, eventually meeting new people, getting involved and learning with them. But, no one got close to me as the little one did. And none ever managed to have, in my heart and mind, such position of prominence and importance as he does. It never occurred me to cry for him. There is no point in doing so. He became part of me for his personality, charisma, presence of mind and companionship.
Whenever I look at his photos, which were taken by me with such commitment and dedication, I feel happy, almost enlightened by doing so. It is difficult to explain with words what he means to me, as words are only a representation of things, unrelated to their real essence. He’s got something on his personality that, by living in the same house, I was able to notice and admire. It is easier to see the truth that lies in a child, as they are very open and fragile. We need to be careful if we don’t want to cause irreparable harm to such pure little beings as children.
Getting involved in the child’s world is magical and enriching, despite some moments in wich we feel so sorry to see a such a gentle being crying. Try to uncover this world because there are many Raphaels out there, eager to guide you through the infinite paths of this garden called CHILDHOOD.
Text based on the ten months I’ve lived with Raphael, a child that was capable to change my life in a complete and meaningful way