emerged from the shower, and I even wondered if I should perhaps cover her face too, as I have seen people do countless times in films and on the news. That, however, would be evidence that someone had been with her, when, at present, there would be only a suspicion, which, however strong (and suspicion was inevitable), was still not a certainty. I looked at her face, still so like the face it had been, still instantly recognizable to herself had she been able to see her reflection, much as it would have been day after day when she looked at herself in the mirror on every countable morning of her life – when things come to an end they have a number, and nothing forewarns us of this and nothing changes from day to day – still recognizable to me too when I compared it to the face in the photo on the dressing table, the photo of her wedding that would have remained there forreasons of implacable, enforced inertia ever since it was first placed there and which neither of the bedroom’s inhabitants would have looked at in ages: five years ago, she had said, a little younger and with her hair up, the back of her neck, old-fashioned somehow, would have been on view throughout the whole ceremony, and on her face is a look of mingled joy and surprise – the laughter of alarm – she’s wearing a short dress, but she’s wearing white (though it might be cream, it’s only a black-and-white photo), her arm linked conventionally through that of her serious and rather inexpressive husband, like all husbands in wedding photos, the two of them seemingly isolated in the picture when, in fact, they would have been surrounded by people, Marta is holding a bouquet in her hands and is looking neither at him nor straight ahead, but at the people who must have been standing to her left – sisters, sisters-in-law and girlfriends, the amused and excited girlfriends who remember her from when she was a little girl, from when they were all little girls, they’re the ones who can’t believe that she’s getting married, the ones who still see everything as a game whenever they get together and are thus a source of relief, they are her confidantes, her best friends because they are like sisters, and her sisters are like friends, all of them both envious and supportive. And I look at her husband, Deán, he isn’t just serious, with his long, strange face, he looks rather uncomfortable, as if he had landed up at a party held by the neighbours of some acquaintances or at a celebration that has nothing to do with him because it is a purely female occasion (weddings are the province of women, not just of the bride, but of all the women present), a necessary intruder but, ultimately, mere decoration, someone who can be dispensed with at any moment, apart from at the altar – just the back of a neck – throughout the whole of that celebration which might last all night, much to his despair and his jealousy and his loneliness and regret, knowing, as he does, that he will only become necessary again – an obligatory figure – when all the guests have gone or when he and the bride leave and she does so unwillingly, looking back, still wearing in her eyes the dusky night. Eduardo Deán has a moustache, he’s looking directly at the camera and biting his lip, he’s very tall and thin and, although his face struck me as memorable, I didn’t remember it once I had leftthe apartment and left Conde de la Cimera and that part of town. I could no longer see him.
As yet, though, I was still there, and, again, I was delaying leaving, as if my presence could remedy something that was entirely irremediable; as if I had qualms about abandoning Marta and leaving her alone on our wedding night – for how long? but I never sought it, I never wanted it; as if as long as I was there things still had some meaning, a thread of continuity, the silken thread, she’s dead, but the scene begun when she was alive continues, I am still in her bedroom and that makes