There are memories that stay with you forever, birth of your child(ren), wedding day, special family dates. The one i'm about to write about is one of them.
From memory it was the mid 90's(confirmed by the picture below) i received a call from my good friend Jorge Amaral, the details are sketchy at the moment, but he told me that Eusebio was having a layover in Newark following a trip to Canada, and someone had contacted him to pick up Eusebio at Newark Airport and take him to lunch before the trans-Atlantic flight that evening. I remember the mood of excitement that day, i couldn't quite believe the unique opportunity we were about to have, we rushed over to Tucha in Newark to buy any Eusebio memorabilia we could find so that he could sign during our meeting.
We picked up Eusebio and another member of Benfica's directive at the airport whose name i don't quite remember.
After trading introductions we got in the car and drove to the Ironbound to grab some lunch. Benfica was the topic of conversation, as i suspect it always is in the presence of Eusebio. We walked in the restaurant and it's hard to explain the gestures of affection that people showed the King, many remembering the Glory years and specific games, others visibly touched by meeting their boyhood hero, a simple man who brought happiness to so many.
It's hard to describe being in the presence of Eusebio, the man oozed of Mistica, that look in his eyes, a look of someone who lives and breathes Benfica, is something that has always stayed with me, and that i will never forget. When we asked for the check, the owner of the restaurant visibly humbled, brought two plates and a sharpie, and told Eusebio that he would never be able to accept our money, and that all he asked humbly was for Eusebio to sign those two plates.
We left the restaurant in route to the airport, took pictures, had our books signed and said our goodbyes, He thanked us for taking him to lunch, shook our hands and smiled, that infectious smile he is so known for.
Unfortunately in the excitement of the moment, i had not loaded the film correctly in Jorge's camera, and all the pictures we took were never exposed in the wrongly loaded film. The only physical memento i have of that day is what you see below, but inside of me, a memory that will last forever.
Rest in Peace King - Forever Immortal