RIP Clebson Martins de Souza

IF you read this blog, you’ll know about my epic train journey with Clebson from Berlin to Poland. I kept in contact with Clebson. The guy was crazy in the most visceral sense. Pushing boundaries and testing people with a wicked pleasure on his face, I had to tell him to shut up when he started trying to chat up the Polish immigration officials on the train. He enlightened what would have been a standard journey through Eastern Europe. He made me laugh a lot and allowed me to ask questions about one of the othersides of life. 

He was going to Poland to have final surgery to become a woman but was robbed before the surgery and lost all his money. He finally had the surgery in Brazil but misfortune, sometimes caused by his own volitile personality wouldn’t stay away. He was thrown in jail for two days in Berlin who slapping a policeman, broke up with his Swiss boyfriend after 6 years and moved to Ireland where he changed back to be a man.

On a trip back to Brazil this year he was kidnapped, held for ransom and strangled to death. He was 27. Or at least he said he was. I never really thought he would make it to old age. His life was permanently on the edge. He was forever seeking love or solace for his pain after being raped when he was 11 by a Brazilian policeman. After that he was sent to live in France with his Grandmother.

He gave me a book on the train, a book his best friend had given him once before he too died young. I still have it. Its simply short, thoughtful quotes in Portuguese which I occasionally flicked through. I was never Clebson’s best friend. I only met him on a train but he had a story, a real life which was touched regularly by all the pain we are mostly lucky to only read about in the paper and wince.

Clebson’s vibrancy always seemed desperate. He had only one speed in public but I know he suffered inside, was angry at his problems and his inability to deal with them the way he wished. He doubted himself. We all do but Clebson had genuine greivances. Its all over now. But I’ll never forget the guy.

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