“Dear Nata. I’ve always believed in taking chances. Especially when it comes to the people I care about. I believed in Laolo. I believed he was kind. Gentle. That his love for me burned more brightly than the fires of the sun. So, I risked it all.”
Jisa is a beautiful young girl who lives in Rio de Janeiro. One night her boyfriend and lover Laolo arrives at her window to take her out for the night. She’s worried about waking her parents, but off they go anyway; and the night in the city is glorious. Jisa knows that Laolo is wrong for her; there was storm clouds in the sky the day they met, and he’s 19 years old, and is involved in questionable business, and he’s not like the other boys at church. But when she is with him she feels free.
“The notion of going to hell didn’t seem so bad at all.”
That night they went to funk party; a place where Laolo’s gang and their rivals could come to work out their aggression instead of making violence on the streets. This involved both sides brutally beating up a young boy who was about Jisa’s age. But someone wasn’t going to stand for this; a woman, with amazing strength and agility, brought order to the chaos. She was the bouncer.
As they walk home Jisa is disturbed by the violence, and is also waiting for Laolo’s answer about whether he’ll come to church tomorrow when Jisa’s parents catch them. Her father calls her a tramp and accuses her of loving Satan and throws her out of the house forever, and her mother recites Hail Marys. At the beach Laolo promises to take care of Jisa, in a rather sinister way, and manipulates her into having sex with him, even though she tells him she’s never done it before.
As Jisa wonders whether her father was right to call her those names Laolo takes her to some flat to stay, which is completely filthy and has passed out men laying all around. Laolo offers Jisa some women’s clothes to wear from out of his wardrobe, as all her clothes are at her parent’s house.
Three weeks go by. Jisa is optimistic about her new life...until a woman in the market accuses her of wearing her clothes and then spits on her face. At the club Jisa sees Laolo talking to the same woman; and he claims it was his sister. He says that when she spat in her face it was just attitude. “It runs in the family,” he says.
Jisa thinks she is pregnant. Laolo tells her to let him know when she finds out for sure so he can find a doctor to give her an abortion. What he suggested made her feel ill, so she paid her parents a visit to beg for forgiveness. But when her mother saw her through the window she closed the curtains, ignoring her. A dejected Jisa was found by the bouncer from a few weeks ago. She is called Renata da Lima; but people just call her Nata. Nata convinces Jisa that she hasn’t lost everything, which Jisa moans that she has. “Everything probably wasn’t all it was cracked up to be if a loser like Laolo could pull you away from it so easily,” Nata says. Nata explains she was disowned at 13 because she was a mutant (the word mutant is now used however). Nata says her powers include her bones being as hard as steel, and her skin being as dense as a football.
As time passes by Nata is constantly at Jisa’s side, through doctor’s visits and morning sickness. As the baby kicks for the first time Jisa tells Nata, as she sleeps, that she’ll be a wonderful aunt.
Later, as Nata leaves work, Laolo and a bunch of his friends confront her, wielding knives and baseball bats. They call her “mutie” and demand her money and that she keeps away from Jisa, but she wont do that. So they attack her; all at once. As Jisa realises that Nata has given her something to believe in, herself, Nata is swamped by Laolo’s gang
“You’ve given me something new to believe in. Me.”