The Province of Misiones constitutes a wedge between Brazil and Paraguay, separated almost completely from both countries by rivers. It is the Northeast end of Argentina, with a semitropical climate since it is partially situated to the North of the Tropic of Capricorn. Since the end of the 19th century, this province was populated by settlers coming from all over Europe, and it is estimated that in the province there are 48 communities formed by the descendants of mostly European immigrants, which were added to the native population of Creoles, mixture of the Spaniards and Guaraní Indians. In addition many Paraguayan and Brazilian migrants have joined this population over the years.
I was born in this province, possibly in some of the communities of Slavic origin that have settled in it. I was apparently abandoned at birth at the portal of a church, from which I was transferred to an orphanage, which was my real home and kept me away from the streets, despite its precarious economic means and the roughness of the relationships between children, and among these and their preceptors, which in some cases did not exclude abuse.
My memories go back to the age of about ten years, and the lessons and games in the old courtyard of the institution. It was at about that time that Mrs. Teresa Gonzalez de Pasiuk entered as responsible for the boys Pavilion, a woman who was then thirty years old, of small size, rather slim but well formed body, with a noble face of correct features, with black and bright eyes and hair. All her appearance betrayed the dominance of Castilian blood, with some distant ingredient of the indigenous peoples of the region. Her character was extremely quiet and kept to herself, which perhaps was a requirement for the performance of her functions in a turbulent environment. This woman would have a decisive influence on my life.
Mrs. Gonzalez, or simply the lady, as they called her, soon took a particular appreciation for me, but she made efforts to hide it in order to avoid gossip about preferences and unequal treatment with other children, but that I could however notice mainly in the few moments in which we found ourselves together and somewhat separated from the rest of the pupils. This veiled protection prevented me from being targeted by taunts or abuse by other older children, being that I was one of the boys of light complexion in the group. Later, my body size, bigger to the other children, my sturdy physical build and the acquisition of rudimentary but effective methods of defense on my part, discouraged potential harassers, making unnecessary any physical protection.
As I learned later, Teresa Gonzalez’s entry in the Institute produced a certain seizure between the directors of the institution; certain intrigues that took place with the purchase of items of daily use were cut from the root, the control of the health state of pupils was emphasized, that had formerly been quite neglected, not even meeting the vaccines calendars. Finally education experienced a substantial upswing, closely monitored by the lady, a teacher by profession. All this earned her respect since the beginning of her direction period, not without grudges.
The woman, with a silent but strong personality and making full use of the authority role which she had been granted , kept the wilder and more aggressive boys at bay, including draconian discipline action in extreme cases. In general were weak or new children who benefited most with this attitude, but I always felt that in my case, there was something else. The way she caressed my head when no one watched created me on the one hand a feeling of security and on the other a pleasant tingly feeling that was accentuated with the passage of some years. Children in this type of establishment rarely receive a caress or another display of affection.
Once, three wards which had been bothering me for some time laid me a trap in a nearby park; they were usual events produced by internal gangs, seeking to establish some kind of leadership, but I defended myself fiercely and I got to considerably hurt them, while I received numerous cuts and bruises. Alerted by other children the lady appeared with two wardens, who managed to untangle us with effort. The woman came to me and noted concerned the injuries on my face and scalp, cleaning a cutting wound in a brow with her handkerchief. Then she looked at the three aggressors, and she saw them bleeding and their swollen faces, I noticed a fleeting glimpse in his dark eyes, which I interpreted as a sign of pride.
Later, when I was eleven, destiny took a turn that would be decisive in my life. Children at the orphanage were taken in a bus to visit some Jesuit ruins located a few hundred miles away. Mrs. Gonzalez, who had been nervous and sullen in the previous days, reported that she would stay at the orphanage to arrange an inventory of supplies of the school running in the establishment, and decided that I would stay to help her in the task. Logically I felt somewhat frustrated by losing one of the few rides that were performed each year, but her decisions were not discussed. In addition, the expectation of staying alone with her did not displease me; on the contrary when I reflected on the situation a mixture of curiosity and anxiety invaded me.
All children and adults in the place then departed, and we stayed alone in the extensive grounds.
After the count of items in school, which took us no more than a couple of hours, the lady told to me that we should go to the boys bedroom to check whether there were additional elements that we should add to the inventory. The sky was by then covered of thick clouds that promised one of the frequent storms in that part of the year. Once we had completed the task that claimed no more than an extra half an hour, the woman, who looked particularly uneasy, told me she was tired and sat down on my bed, telling me to do the same thing at her side. The beds were arranged in long rows with narrow aisles in the middle. Thus we stood side by side for several minutes, in the darkness of the bedroom, which had few windows. At the beginning I was expectant of what she would do, but time passed without alternatives. Slowly I became aware that the woman was in a deep state of inner struggle, which communicated to me in the form of agitation. I felt her leg next to mine and noticed that her body radiated heat. The sensation was pleasant at the same time than unusual; as it was said before, abandoned children do not usually have physical proximity of other people, at least not without an aggressive mood.
In the meantime, several lightning lit up the sky and their reflections were admitted through the narrow windows. A flurry of fresh wind came by them as the sound of torrential rain that had started to tap on the veneer roofs of buildings could be heard.
Unexpectedly, as under the influence of the electrical events outside, the woman broke her state of self-absorption. She slid her hand by my head, telling me that she liked my blond hair, but words flowed from her lips with difficulty; even for an inexperienced boy as I it was clear that she was under the influence of a tension that closed her throat. The feeling of her hand caressing me was extremely pleasant, particularly in this suggestive atmosphere of shadows and freshness.
Finally she took my left hand and squeezed it between hers, first voluntary contact of her skin with mine. I immediately felt a chill running down my spine like an electric shock. In fact, the act was deliberate and not a consequence of any external factor. She approached her lips to my forehead and slipped a brief kiss that for me was full of meaning, even if I could not then specify what. For the first time in my life I had been kissed, and the person who had done so who was increasingly becoming the object of my expectation.
It followed another time of quiescence, in which each of us processed the feelings of what had happened until then. Rain kept raging outside, but the spacious galleries and porches prevented it from entering the Pavilion, despite the open windows. I watched the face of the woman in search of signs that would foretell me what would follow, while she looked forward, as if she did not wish to see my eyes.
She still retained my right hand in hers, and at a time she placed it on her lap. There, with my palm on her skirt I could recognize the shape of her thigh, and then experienced a sensation of different character to which I had had up to that moment; my face blushed while I noticed some itching in my groin.
Instinctively, my hand slid down towards her knees, but did so with infinite slowness, since in the first place I was well aware of my dare, and secondly I wanted to enjoy every moment and every inch of the course of my movement. I looked at her directly in the eyes, and for the first time she drifted her look that still had maintained in a fixed position to the front, in reality the vacuum, into my eyes. A smile appeared on her lips and I felt that she had taken a firm resolution, which so far had been pending.
My hand eventually came to the edge of her skirt, and with the tip of my fingers, I rubbed the skin of her knees; alarmed by my boldness I removed them, but then I placed them back, this time decisively. Her body did not move and I, encouraged by the absence of penalties or adverse reactions, continued my slow and loving exploration of her legs. I caressed the front part of her left knee, and then the back side, and while my hand continued gently caressing her calf, I inclined my head down and kissed her left knee, then the right, leaving wet marks on her skin. I continued petting her ankles, and finally, I left my position on the bed and I knelt at her feet. I removed her shoes and took a foot in my hands and then the other; the feet were small and of beautiful forms, and barely exceeded the size of my hands. The lady at the beginning seemed to feel tickled but then adapted to the situation. I approached my mouth to her instep and I kissed it, as well as the different parts of each foot. And finally I licked each one of her soles. The lady let me, and at times rode one leg over the other in a feminine position: in the movement, and given that my head was at the height of her knees, I could briefly glimpse into her thighs and her white underwear.
She uncrossed her legs, and then took my head in her hands and placed it on her lap, where she let it stand for a while. I looked at her again to the eyes and saw a placid smile.
I realized at once that this place was a haven of peace where I wanted to live. The series of sensations that I had been experiencing was completely new in my life quite tough so far, and made me feel that another universe was possible.