She was sobbing, and as if the two o’clock glare weren’t enough, she had red hair.
On the empty street the cobblestones were vibrating with heat – the little girl’s head was aflame. Sitting on the front steps of her house, she endured. Nobody on the street, just one person waiting in vain at the tram stop. And as if her submissive and patient gaze weren’t enough, her sobs kept interrupting her, making her chin slip off the hand it was resting on in resignation.What could you do about a sobbing red-haired girl? We looked at each other wordlessly, dejection to dejection. On the deserted street not a sign of the tram. In a land of dark-haired people, being a redhead was an involuntary rebellion. What did it matter if one day in the future her emblem would make her insolently hold erect the head of a woman. For now she was sitting on a shimmering doorstep, at two o’clock. What saved her was an old purse, with a torn strap. She clutched it with a long-familiar conjugal love, pressing it against her knees.
That was when her other half in this world approached, a brother in Grajaú. The possibility of communication appeared at the scorching angle of the street corner, accompanied by a lady, and incarnated in the form of a dog. It was a basset hound, beautiful and miserable, sweet inside its fate. It was a red-haired basset hound.
There he came trotting, ahead of his owner, stretching his body out. Unsuspecting, nonchalant, dog.
The girl widened her eyes in amazement. Mildly alerted, the dog stopped in front of her. His tongue quivered. They looked at each other.
Of all the beings suited to become the owner of another being, there sat the girl who had come into this world to have that dog. He growled gently, without barking. She looked at him from under her hair, fascinated, solemn. How much time passed? A big sob jangled her. He didn’t even tremble. She overcame her sobs and kept staring at him.
Both had short, red hair.
What did they say to each other? Nobody knows. All we know is they communicated rapidly, since there was no time. We also know that without speaking they were asking for each other. They were asking for each other urgently, bashfully, surprised.
Amid so much vague impossibility and so much sun, here was the solution for the red child. And amid so many streets to be trotted down, so many bigger dogs, so many dry gutters – there sat a little girl, as if she were flash of his ginger flesh. They stared at each other deeply, immersed, absent from Grajaú. Another second and the suspended dream would shatter, yielding perhaps to the seriousness with which they asked for one another.
But both were already commited.
She to her impossible childhood, the center of the innocence that would only open once she was a woman. He, to his imprisioned nature.
His owner waited impatiently beneath her parasol. The red-haired basset finally pried himself away from the girl and went off sleepwalking. She sat there in shock, holding the event in her hands, in a muteness that neither her father nor her mother would understand. She followed him with black eyes that could hardly believe it, hunched over her purse and knees, until she saw him round the other corner.
But he was stronger than she. He didn’t look back once.