There had to be a way to fit me into the clock of your life. You had appeared behind the sandwich cart, in the belly of the steel bird, the day I went to Madrid to meet my son and the future.

We were already flying the first time I saw you.

I remember so perfectly the contours of your face in that first image that, it will be forever – no matter how long it takes – sharper than a high-resolution colour photograph.

The commas on your eyebrows punctuated the letters in your eyes as if they were writer’s breath. If Saramago had met you he would never look at full stop in the same way. Your face, a perfect circle, a metaphor of circle and a synecdoche of perfection. Model for all styles and incomparable emotion.

The haughtiness of those who fly for a living allows you to look at the near as if you were far away and the far away as if you were a mirage.

We should be flying somewhere a few kilometres just above the land where I was born – Castelo Branco, near the border with Spain – on the perfect route of the TP 1028, which every day sent the tugas to the castle looking to see a bigger image of the world, right next door, when your unused muse face stuck in me coming into nowhere.

It was in that trip – the ironies are really written anyway – that, without my even suspecting, my life would end up changing forever, although I would only know it a few months later, when I saw you by chance in a digital window and remembered your name.

You also stumbled upon me (only your eyes, which flight attendants never stumble upon) but you didn’t tell me. The haughtiness of the flyer always allows one to look close as if it were far away and far as if it were a mirage. It was in your eyes that I learned the definition of elegance.

We exchanged two words on your arrival. I did not resist and broke the secular protocol of the rules of love, which advises you never to fall in love with a woman who flies unless you also commit yourself to learn to fly – and I asked your name. You looked up and answered quietly – almost spelling. I kept the words you gave me as if they were an autograph of the Person or a ticket to Sinatra’s last concert, in the certainty that one day I would meet you again.

I closed my eyes to savor the moment when, already on the bird’s tail, your rookie voice announced in the electricity of the cage – fasten your belts, lift the tables and straighten the chairs. Let’s land.

That was the last time I saw you until I found you forever a few weeks later when, on an sleepless night, I spelled your name on the search line of the greatest country in the world. Facebook gave me your picture back.

I wrote sounding – Knock Knock – and you answered.

— Hello, Mr. Diogo. I didn’t quite understand what you do, are you a writer?