They had met at the meat department in the supermarket on the square near his house. Well - met… She had been lingering in front of the handcut Serrano, dry-aged for 23 months in Trevélez, Spain, at 1.750m altitude. Finally she chose the San Daniele. She wore long black velvet boots. Their eyes had crossed.
He paid, took the escalator to the exit. When he looked over his shoulder she was still cueing at another cash point. In town a chilly breeze cut over canals, through streets. Over the bridges people hurried.
Footsteps behind, then next to him.
They walked in silence. “Do you need some help carrying that bag?” he asked, as he saw she carried two, of which one seemed very heavy. Never before he had spoken to her. They stood still for a moment. She smiled. He carried her bag.
Coming home, he opened the door. She went in. In the lights her hair seemed strikingly shiny. He didn’t remember ever having seen such shiny hair.
“I’ve never followed a stranger home,” she said.
“I’ve never invited a stranger in my house,” he said. This was true. He was what you call a lonely person. He was happy. Now he was nervous.
“You have very shiny hair,” he said. Which really sucked, but it was the only thing he could think of. Time was lacking. The elevator doors opened.
They made love all night long. Passionate, tender, merciless. The third time she came his mobile went off. He threw it out of the window, in the river. Ducks were squeaking. Then he came too, like a beast.
In the morning they had breakfast. He made eggs. They ate all of her San Daniele.
“It was fantastic,” she said. He nodded, tearing apart a slice of San Daniele.
“We can’t be lovers though.” She took a sip of her coffee. “God, this is good coffee,” she sighed.
“I understand,” he said. They looked at the coffee and then at each other for quite some time. They sat there, looking in silence.
“You will never see me again,” she said, breaking a bar of chocolate, putting the piece in her mouth. It had the shape of a little frog.
“I know,” he said. Egg yolk was running off his chin. He could clearly feel it.
“I hope you don’t mind,” she said. Her teeth coloured deep brown. It gave her a very girlish expression.
He looked at her, frowning.
“You might have wanted some explanation,” she said, in a sulky way, as if slightly disappointed.
“Some explanation?” He started coughing, a piece of egg-shell being stuck in his throat. Against his uvula, to be precise. It lasted for one, maybe two minutes before he could resume breathing normally again. “Some explanation?”
“Yes… It wouldn’t have been surprising if you would have minded, wouldn’t it? After all we…”
“Why would I mind?” he asked, interrupting her, still coarse, putting a hand on hers. “Darling, you’ve given me the most wonderful night I’ve ever experienced and most likely will experience. You’ve shown me what passion can be about, and that it can turn into love. Yes, pure, unbounded, eternal love: that’s what i’ve experienced last night. All because of you. How would I possibly be able to feel anything but gratitude?”
Again they sat in silence, looking at each other. Her eyes too were shiny.
She stood up, kissed the yolk off his chin, and left.
(Colour drawing 'Sensualità' (Omaggio a Franz von Stuck), by Fabiano Gagliano - 2016.)
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