A bela e a fera / Beauty and the Beast or The Enormous Wound
Short stories and novellas , 1979
"Well, so she left the beauty salon by the elevator in the Copacabana Palace Hotel. Her driver wasn’t there. She looked at her watch: it was four in the afternoon. And suddenly she remembered: she’d told “her” José to pick her up at five, not factoring in that she wouldn’t get a manicure or pedicure, just a massage. What should she do? Take a taxi? But she had a five-hundred-cruzeiro bill on her and the cab driver wouldn’t have change. She’d brought cash because her husband had told her you should never go out without cash. It crossed her mind to go back to the beauty salon and ask for change. But–but it was a May afternoon and the cool air was a flower blooming with its perfume. And so she thought it wonderful and unusual to be standing on the street–out in the wind that was ruffling her hair. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been alone with herself. Maybe never. It was always her–with others, and in these others she was reflected and the others were reflected in her. Nothing was–was pure, she thought without understanding what she meant. When she saw herself in the mirror —her skin, tawny from sunbathing, made the gold flowers in her black hair stand out against her face–, she held back from exclaiming “ah!”–for she was fifty million units of beautiful people. Never had there been–in all the world’s history–anyone like her. And then, in three trillion trillion years–there wouldn’t be a single girl exactly like her."