He started to see her everywhere. It frustrated him, because she promised to call him back. And this was a week ago, when they said goodbye at the door, and since then, the cellphone, in its red case, waited on the table every night. In silence.
He had to admit that maybe he didn’t know her so well. Anyway, not knowing her made not difference to how badly he desired her. He clung to a few features marked in his memory, her garish laugh, the rounded nose, a secret tattoo, the colour of her polished nails. The image of her saying goodbye at his door on that frozen night of pink noses.
It repeated in every woman he met on the street. He started to see her everywhere.
The hair. Each one had the same haircut, the same locks behind her ear, the same colour, chestnut, copper, orange (but her, the real one, had it even more chestnut, even more copper, even more orange), and the street looked like a sea of red heads. From far away, the city itself became a box of red matches, destined to burn in long red flames.
He wanted to start the fire. When he was with her it were always like that, she had the gunpowder and he added the fire that burned him inside, and the fire was beautiful because it warmed on winter.
In that sea of red heads and cold scarves, he could recognize her easily. She was in every face, in every age, in the hands when they interweaved with other hands that weren’t his, and in lips when they kissed lips others than his. He used to look at her for a long time, more than secure that he wasn’t wrong and when eyes met, their became accomplices. Her eyes were brown like almonds and they stabbed him directly.
With that look in her eye, he had not doubt she was a match about to burn.
He had to give in to the plea of a co-worker, who insisted on a visit to the psychologist. But she opened the door, invited him in and attended him politely and every action ended with indifference. She asked about his day, with her almond eyes in her notebook, taking down off the unusual glasses by her nose and crossing her legs like she always used to do. He recognized the bracelet on one of her wrists, a gift he gave to her.
He breathed deeply before coming out with a subject for normal conversation, and when the session met its end, he shook hands, went out from the door and never came back.
They looked quite alike, even between each other, especially when they walked together. The mannequins wore her clothes, the garments she used that evening when she went away, and he remembered her face, the pink nose, her in the corner.
Now he saw her at every road crossing, pretending to wait for a taxi, the bus or simply the traffic light. At first he was doubtful whether it was him they were waiting for, but when he stood by her side, he couldn’t break the silence. He could wait for her to start the conversation, and then the taxi arrived, the bus stopped by or the traffic light turned from green to red.
A red light. In a river of red heads, always in motion, moving farther away from him.
On the weekends, he never went out; he only limited himself on spying her from the window. He could see when she crossed the street and didn’t stop by his door, or when she stopped by his door but didn’t stop to meet him. He could see her walking in a characteristic way; he could see her running down the street. He closed the curtains, frustrated.
He looked everywhere for a photo of the two of them together that would prove her existence, but he couldn’t find it. Then he opened the newspaper, with the fear of finding bad news about her, but no one had heard about her disappearance. Neither her family nor her friends were worried.
No one was interested in a girl that multiplied, in hundreds of red lights and red matches
It was past midnight when she knocked the door with cold hands and a song in the throat. It was dark, but the insistent knocking took him out of bed. He couldn’t sleep anyway. He closed his eyes and put his head on the wood of the door.
-It’s me. Can I come in?-
He could hear her rubbing her hands in her gloves. He could hear the bell sound of her bracelet. He opened the door in the dark and the moon light that invaded the hallway wasn’t any help. She laughed, he remembered her bell-like laugh and she hugged him. He felt her cold nose, the sweet aroma.
He turned on the lights. She had black hair.