Winter was coming, it got cold but the days were still bright and sunny. One day, while I was working in the bathroom of my house, I heard a knock on the door. It sounded a bit annoyed. There was still no door bell, maybe I didn’t hear a first knock? It didn’t bother me, but I went downstairs to open the door.

There was a young woman, tall, with a slim figure. She was wearing a black modern trenchcoat with a black hat. She looked familiar. I had seen her eyes before. There was no doubt: But I couldn’t connect her face with a name or a situation where I had met her before.

I had no chance to ask. Without any greeting or warning she jumped right into a frenzy about how annoying the noises of my renovation were. I shouldn’t be working at this time. After a whiff of surprise I checked my wrist clock and maybe she was right. It was quite late in the evening. Obviously, I didn’t notice how long I had worked in the bathroom.

So I apologized for the noise and she left, still annoyed. Head shaking and a bit confused I closed the door. The stray cat stood on the last stair and looked at me.
“What?”, I asked. She mewed. With a sigh of resignation I went to the kitchen to feed her.

When I left the bakery on the next morning, I ran into a person who intended to enter it. This sudden encounter caused a surprised expression on the face of the young woman who ended my renovation work the evening before. Since I didn’t carry a grudge against her I smiled and greeted her. Again, I apologized for the noise. And when she smiled to return my greeting I had the same feeling like yesterday: I knew her eyes and even her smile. But I couldn’t pin it down.

She apologized for her bad mood, she had a rough day she explained and introduced herself properly to me. I took her hand and shook it with a broad grin. I told her that I am not resentful at all and invited her spontaneously for breakfast at my house. Much to my joy she accepted. We went chatting casually to my house.

The kitchen was the only room that was already finished. That was quite unusual, but I hesitated to work on the other rooms, especially the bedroom. A room I planned for Rosie and me. So I started with the room she would have used least.

But while sitting there with the young woman, talking, laughing about our first encounter and enjoying the warm croissants I didn’t think about Rosie at all. I was captivated by her broad smile and this certain sparkle in her brown eyes. Even when there was no croissant left we remained sitting on our chairs and talked. She asked a lot of questions about the house and my plans for it. She told me about her job as a clerk at a law firm. And about her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her for months.
From that point on our conversation shifted from casual and funny to her disappointment and incomprehensibility of his actions. I told her in a few words how Rosie had left me and how paralysed I had been at first. Even though it has been months since she left my apartment, I still was not able to understand it.

There is no warranty, there is no 100% reliability, there is no safety net when it comes to love.
I have been so sure. I thought I knew how Rosie felt. But obviously, it wasn’t enough for her. Or right.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that it has all been a lie. Once again, her last words came to my mind. Those words kept my hope alive that one day she will come back to me. From where ever she might be right now.

My guest looked at me and I knew that she knew there was more to Rosie than I told her. But she didn’t ask more questions. Silence fell over the room. We looked at each other. After a while, she stood up and walked around the table towards me. I looked up to her, when she placed a warm hand on my cheek, leaned forward and kissed me. From there on, we had no need for more words.

The next day, the weather had changed. It was rainy. Cold. Not cosy. I was standing in the room that was supposed to be the living room when a series of fierce knocks at the door resonated through the house. With a feeling of a déjà vu that made me smile I went to the door to open it. As soon as I had opened it, I got a slap in the face. I cursed and looked surprised at woman I knew. It was my neighbour who had left my house while I hadf been out to get some croissants after we spend the night together. She looked furious and jumped right into a rant about my bad behaviour. She talked about my egoism and my disregard for women. At first I just looked at her dumbfounded. But when I looked at her eyes, her mouth, that one strain of brown hair that fell into her face, even when I remembered the sounds she made when I kissed her, it all made sense. The young woman who kissed me after our breakfast looked so familiar because she was the daughter of my neighbour. And had told her mother about our night together, obviously. When I realised that, I interrupted my neighbour with a harsh word. I told her the truth: I didn’t know that they were related. And I would not discuss this matter or justify myself. My life didn’t concern her. She left my life without a word and now she could stay there: away. That left her speechless, with anger in her eyes. But I just closed the door and went back to my renovations.
Madame Pompadour
Madame Pompadour

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