Margarida Azevedo

I blurted out the words. A text in memory of Juva Batella.

In April 2022 be speechless. I think I got them back this year. Only now do I know exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it. I wanted life to cross paths with Juva during the pandemic. The hand that led me to him was Rosane Nunes, founder of Editora Raíz, currently Cambucá.

Rosane invited me to write a short story for the collection Conto em Casa. I accepted immediately without knowing very well what to expect from me. I was going through a complicated period. The pandemic, the anxiety, the fear, the self-pressure of keeping Covidarte running, the master’s degree, motherhood… All of this closed at home, afraid of a still very unknown virus and with emotions on the surface.

Juva would be a breath of good energy that would come through my window. But that I still didn’t know. Rosane tells me that she would like me to present Juva’s short story, O espaço do meu tempo, in a live broadcast and he would present my A Caixa da Pandora. Once again I didn’t hesitate, but the weight of responsibility settled in.

I immediately started researching Juva, reading his texts, and I felt small.

We arranged a session for the two of us to get to know each other, talk about ourselves, tell our stories, share the good and the bad. The times of storm and sunny days of those who write. The romantic image of what we do. “What’s up, Daisy!” Thus began our video call. It was November 2020, he was wearing a t-shirt in Brazil and I was wearing a hat in Portugal.

“Can you believe I haven’t smelled anything since I had Covid? Not even the stinkiest garbage.” Talking to him was so easy. The trifles and the more robust themes had the same intensity in our conversation. “I went to see your website. I read what you write. I have questions for you.”
My heart was racing. “I like what you write. In the raw way you write”. Read me my texts. It took me by surprise. “Your writing reminds me of Lydia Davis short stories. Do you know? I answered no. “You have to read. You will identify yourself.”

Times later I ordered it, read it, and he was right.

On November 16, 2020 we laughed together live. “I wanted to start with a brief narrative/a mini story/a poetic text (…) by Margarida, which bothered me a lot. In the most potent sense of the word”.

“I lost confidence.
I became suspicious of who I was. Whose I was.
Isolated, I lost my definition.
I broke away from the routine I knew until then.
I confined myself to taking one day at a time. No plans, no ambitions.
I became suspicious of who I was.
And so it will be until I can once again confine myself to a life I know backwards and forwards.”

Juva don’t know what this moment meant to me. Maybe because I never told you. In November 2020 Juva brought me confidence, good energy, smiles and friendship. Later, in February 2021, we met in person in Portugal. I told him I’d like to write something with him. Never happened. In 2022 I was surprised by the message of his death. I didn’t know what to say. Maybe because I always think we’ll have more time with each other. Maybe because I always leave so many messages to send and so many things to say to those I like, to those who cross paths with me and always add something more.

Juva had an energy of its own. A way of encouraging me that still didn’t make sense.
As for you, Rosane, I don’t want to leave anything unsaid. In life! Thank you for crossing my path with Juva’s. Thank you for entrusting me with the interview with this man I didn’t know. Thank you for being in Portugal, laughing together and believing in my work.

To you, Juva. More than a year after your death, the words came back to me. I can thank you for looking at my texts. Your entry into my world. Words have their time. The time it took me to digest the emotions. It took me a while, but it’s out there. I disconfined the words and I know you would like to read them.