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#2 Elite

nienna's picture

Elite, that was her name. She looked exactly the same of all the other ones I had had before. However, when we first met, at that specific Sunday morning in 2008 I thought she would be my saving grace. She would be the one to help me accomplish all my dreams. She would be the one.

Our relationship lasted exactly 4 years, between breaks and comebacks. It did not take me a long time to realize that Elite was not as easy to keep up with as I initially thought she would be. She was too demanding, too rigid, and too orthodox. She asked me to do things I have never thought I would have to do in order to achieve my goal.

She was chaotic, dealt with too many people at the same time, was both hated and loved. She was as controlling and caring as a mom, did her job with such beauty that made me end up falling for her. Thus, when reading Butler’s text I could relate to Gan’s struggle. We both met our Gatoi’s’ around the same age and knew that our world could change completely if we let ourselves fulfill their desires. Our family did not understand our connection and we both struggled to know how much of the “love” was real and how much of it was manipulation. Even though today I prefer to believe we had mutual love, the text opened my mind to discussion.

Elite was more than just an encounter. Elite was my contact zone, Elite was my home, safe place and high school. At this point, I want to clarify some points about Elite. It was a mix of regular high school and pre-military independent courses. The students in my course were exposed to a large amount of Sciences and Math at a college level and the minimum of English and Portuguese, just enough to get the best rankings on admission entrance exams in exchange of free tuition, room and board.

I studied 14 hours a day along with my classmates and professors (We had them studying to make their classes better). I had people from every bit of Brazil, with different accents and cultures sharing the same daily struggle. I had classes on Sundays and University-level mock tests every Saturday. That was something exclusive from my course. That extra.

Since we studied harder, we tended to have better results in academic competitions. As our “reward” for high rankings, or contract clause, we had our smiling faces publicized all over the town in billboards. I remember my picture day how I was not happy. I had already studied 14 hours, I had a test on the next day and the photographer insisted on “smile!” My class was the unit making the sacrifices for the school to seem perfect in results, and I was pretending to be happy and being a little hypocrite in my statements for the billboard. After my readings, I empathized with both the abandoned kid and the people reflecting over their smiles in Ursula Le Guin’s Omelas. Paraphrasing the author: The place they look forward is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who graduates from Elite.