I’m okay. I’ve arrived.

Diogo Ourique

Erivaldo was one of those indecipherable men who spend their days roaming around the village center. Some thought him crazy, but those who really knew him were aware that the situation wasn’t as linear as that. You would have to hang out with Erivaldo a lot to get to enter Erivaldo’s own world. And even still, some of its nooks and crannies were kept untouched; pure, even.

A man of immeasurable innocence, he was therefore frequently teased by the local know-it-alls that shared a counter or a table with him. Their favorite subject was the “other island”. Every time they would ask him about his travel history, Erivaldo would tell them that he had been to almost every island, except one.

– Graciosa? – some asked.
– Flores? – others tried.
– No. The other one – insisted the man.

When they would ask him to explain where that “other island” was located, Erivaldo would point to an empty spot in the horizon, where nothing but the sea was really visible.

– Can’t you see it, over there?

And the conversation would usually stop around that point. Nobody knew what else to say. The more they tried to describe to Erivaldo the exact map of the archipelago, the more adamant he was on his idea of the existence of the “other island”. Maybe he had dreamt about it, or maybe he had believed the frequent rumors about a hypothetical volcanic eruption that would create a tenth patch of land in the surroundings. Whatever the reason was, nobody could dissuade Erivaldo. The “other island” existed, and he would visit it, eventually.

One day, some villagers, looking over at the sea at sunrise, saw a figure jumping onto a small speedboat and sail to the horizon. As the vehicle tore through the salt water and became increasingly harder to discern, everybody came to the same conclusion:

– It has to be Erivaldo!

There were no more news in the village about Erivaldo. He was presumed both missing and dead, considered both crazy and a hero. Nobody knew if he had been able to arrive at that “other island” – that only he could see – or if he had become lost at sea. All everyone knew is that they didn’t really know where he was.
A few months later, some kids, playing with pebbles down by the shore, found a glass bottle with a note inside it. Prudent as they were, they thought it best to take it to the village, so the adults could handle it.

Almost everybody read that note. It was passed through homes and hands, eyes and minds. Nobody could believe what it said. In crude handwriting, which many recognized immediately, was written:

“I’m okay. I’ve arrived.