A singular passion
She finally admits it: she’s attracted to him, the quiet walker, sometime runner, she meets here and then, as if their paths had to cross. One morning, as she runs past the old guard tower, she notices him near one of the wooden benches, as he is changing into his running gear. She hides behind a tree, to better observe him; she now looks at his body, the sparse but vigorous frame, his supple and determined moves.
He does not see her, and starts running toward the park, at a regular and tranquil pace. She follows, at a safe distance, and when he accelerates a little, she adjusts her own steps, her eyes firmly fixed on his shoulders.
She’s the faster runner, and soon she’s level with him, slows down to his pace, turns to him, wave. He smiles, says hello. That smile… she thinks. She offers to run with him for a while. He accepts with a small gesture, as if to say “why not?” She tells him she knows where he lives, and that she does not think he is from the City. He says she’s right, he’s only one of the City’s many adopted sons. She says his name: he’s surprised, she can sense, but does not ask her how she knows.
She tells him she’s been stalking him, peacefully, without bad intentions, ever since they met along the canal, several weeks back. She knows where he lives, his apartment, his name on the door. She’s been studying his habits, where he goes in the evening, the Italian restaurant in Kreuzberg, his favourite bar, where he shops, where he parks his bike.
He’s silent for a while, as they run, in steps, deep in thoughts, on their own. Finally he says: “if you know so much about me, then you may know also how much your name means to me.” She does not know, but she guessed there was, somewhere, sometime, in their separate lives, a reason for them to meet here, in this City.
She senses his inner strength, his resistance to seduction, perhaps his unwillingness to sacrifice his inner peace. Now she wants him, badly. But she knows better than rushing him. She says: “Please forgive and accept me, I won’t annoy you, or invade your privacy anymore, I am asking merely to be the girl you take with you from time to time, like this. I will not try to be the other Melissa.”
For several minutes he says nothing. She’s worried he’s about to chase her away. What he says then touches her deeply, and she feels triumphant.
“I am an old man, so I fail to understand your interest in me… You should know that I have in me more than memories: I am haunted. But I know also that you are not the other Melissa. But, if you wish, you may be that girl, my guide, shall we say, in the city of Faust.”