Her presence is a series of layers over her body, each wavering independently, expanding her in several directions. Several points in time.
She has the bones of an insect, the muscles of a shark and the skin of rose petals. Her disposition is resolute but relaxed enough to change her course of action in a whiff without a second thought. Her casual and comfortable clothes showcase more her personality than her position or means. She could be the Duchess of California and she would still wear her baggy cotton pants and her undefined blouse.
Even her asymmetrical nose is a note in a melody without end, open to diametrically different interpretations.
Her presence is akin to a blistering light piercing the darkness around her.
She grabs the key to her room and she tosses it in the air to snatch it again like a rattlesnake striking without a warning. Then a quick signature in the register with the intensity of an artist who has no time to lose. She looks at me trying to understand me, unable to comprehend that that is futile, as she can only see the inscrutable facade of an unreachable building. Even if I wanted to change that, I could not do it.
Likewise, I cannot read her, I cannot answer the question “What little thought are you juggling in there, in that mind of yours?” I prefer instead to place her in a scene in the distant past, with sunlight inundating and burning the landscape, affecting the breeze as well as the open air around her. The desert calm and timeless, a blue sky without clouds, and opening for the first time the door of the house that is going to be her home from that point on. No other house to be seen in any direction. The faint path of the new line between Salt Lake City and San Francisco coming from the east, passing very close to the house, then continuing west but soon disappearing behind a mesa.
A porch runs along the front of the house, with enough depth to provide her with a pleasant and welcoming shade. There is no rush to open the door, she could easily turn around, sit down on the wooden planks and observe the wind agitating the few depressed bushes, and the rest of the landscape stretched in a comforting stillness. But the anticipation of knowing whether the inside of the house is within the parameters of what she has expected keeps her confronting the door, makes her hand push the unlock door, makes her feet bring her into the sparse living room. One door to the only bedroom. One door to the kitchen. One door to the back of the house leading to the stables, the outhouse and the well. Her eyes are attracted by the fireplace. Many good nights sitting around the crackling and the waves of warmth.
She gets her luggage and heads toward the stairs, disappearing in the darkness. I hear each one of her first steps. Just like beats of a resonating heart. When I know that she must have found her room and be searching for a candle, the veins in my temples are still beating at the rhythm of her lingering steps.