Originally written in 2014


NOW

Grégor was just your average non-average guy. The kind of guy you saw every day, thought something among the lines of "I'm going to achieve something big today" and then go home without knowing that he wouldn't achieve a thing; he didn't yesterday and he wouldn't do it today, even though it was Sunday and nothing gets done on Sundays. "Maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after tomorrow", he said daily on his way to work; that was the kind of guy Grégor was, with his tall figure, sunburned skin, square jaw, thin line for lips and hypnotic grey eyes, with no hair on his head but that's something no one should mention around him.

Ah, yes, Grégor was also a hypnotist. And not of the kind we are used to. He could make people do what he wanted when he wanted how he wanted with a mere look of his grey eyes, which were a sign of his abilities to those who knew, for a price. Bending a person's mind wasn't an easy task and the migraines that came every now and then made him think that it just wasn't worth it; his nose bled, a lot, too, and some days he even woke up temporarily blind. He didn't know if the back pain he was feeling lately had to do with any of that, as he was a middle aged man, after all.

If he were going to a beauty pageant, he would end up mentioning at some point his love for science fiction novels and Nicolas Cage's movies (a good actor in good movies and an almost indispensable actor in bad ones, Roger Ebert said, bless his soul), his desire for a glass of whiskey and something that had to do with world peace, hunger or poverty because you can't go to a beauty pageant without mentioning any of those. But Grégor was going to work instead, on Sunday, damn his soul; at least the pay was good. It was always good.

Has to be, he though, too much of this magic and any brain would end up like bean soup. No hypnotist, as they were labeled, called their skills "magic", they had a perfectly logical explanation for every one of his abilities and Grégor had heard each one with the patience of a saint. Of course, he remembered none of it by now, that was long ago, and he didn't mind, as he was a man of money, not of science. It works and, not minding the downsides, gets bread, beer and satellite T.V. on the table, fine by me.

He accelerated his steps when he saw the bus at the bus stop, running into an old lady with a cane and a young woman in black carrying a blue bag he almost knocked down. Grégor got on the bus and breathed, paid the driver and took a seat. Something tingled on the right sleeve of his coat, he raised his hand to see it was a blue tag, with a name and a number on it. His gaze fell upon the letters for a while but no matter how much he looked at the tag, the words didn't seem right.

Samantha. Grégor threw the tag out the window.

He hadn't realized it was snowing.

BEFORE

She had the face of a "Samantha", which was weird, as there was nothing unusual about her at first glance to carry such exotic name. She could have been an Amy, Jessica or a Claudia but no, she was Samantha.

Samantha with her long, brown and curly hair, with her thick glasses and black clothes and dissonant beige boots, with her preoccupied expression and the way she held to that big blue bag in her arms. Her lips were pale and difficult to distinguish from the rest of her skin and her eyes were as black as her clothes if not even more so. Her nose was almost red and so were her ears. She carried no more jewelry than a mere silver ring on her right hand's index finger, she wasn't wearing gloves despite the fact that it was a cold morning and there were remnants of last night's snow, her nails were getting blue. She was sitting at the bus stop, ignoring the people around her and looking directly at the street, trembling from the November cold.

The woman had the face of a Samantha, a very worried Samantha, but she had not the face of someone waiting for the bus. She was waiting for something, someone else. A white, old car stopped in front of her. The grip of her hands on the blue bag tightened.

Please, she though, let me keep this face.

Snow began to fall.