As Julia saw the fallen snow in Campo dei Fiori in front of the house she woke Gaia up.
Wake up, she said to Gaia, we have to make a drawing in the snow before anyone else goes there.
Gaia, usually very difficult to wake up in the morning, raised quickly when she was proposed something she had not ever done. They dressed up heavily and sneaked out of the door. Kristen was deep asleep.
Julia climbed on top of the closet before leaving the apartment and took hold of two pairs of wooden snowshoes she had noticed months before. Outside of the door both girls wore shoes and Julia helped Gaia tie the shoelaces. They wore the snowshoes out of the door of the building, outside it was still dark, Campo dei Fiori illuminated by gaslights.
I will walk in a certain way in the snow and you must follow me and not leave traces outside of mine, do you understand?
Gaia nodded and off Julia went. She walked slowly, one step at a time, the snowshoes impeding a faster progress. Gaia followed her, jumping from one foot to the other to match Julia’s steps precisely. Occasionally she would fall and leave a larger mark where her legs and arms had touched the ground. She would promptly raise and walk again with long steps and jumps.
Julia steps followed a drawing, a pattern which Gaia could not recognize upfront. She walked in a line, one step behind the other, until she made a sharp turn and bent the line towards the canal, then again, towards the coffeehouse, and again away from it. She walked and looked around and looked at the ground covered in snow and walked a few steps and looked around again. Gaia found the activity fun and enjoyable and would talk to Julia all the time. Did you see the light in that window, she pointed out, somebody must be awake there, they may be seeing us, they will know who did this painting in the snow, Gaia said. Julia kept on walking, her footprints illuminated by the glowing bulbs around the square, alternating curved and straight paths, stopping and looking up, then resuming the walk. It took a good hour and half before the girls were done. They leaned against the wall of a building on the other side of Campo dei Fiori and both looked up at the window of their own room.
Let’s go and look at the drawing from above, said Gaia.
Do not walk through the drawing, said Julia, walk close to the buildings until we are in front of our door, follow me, she said and removed the snowshoes and walked close to the buildings, under the balconies, where the pavement was dry. They climbed the stairs and entered the apartment, removed the jackets and shoes. They were careful to leave both the snowshoes and the shoes out of the door. They walked on tiptoes in the apartment, not to wake Kristen up. When they arrived in their room, they leaned on the beds to have a good look outside. Then Gaia saw what Julia had in mind when she walked in the snow. Their footsteps left marks that traced the profile of the same buildings that face the square, one by one, window by window. A line of footsteps tied them all, a thin line like a gust of wind, a line that bended from one roof to the other, that run in circles and disappeared to reappear again a few yards ahead.
Make a drawing of this, Gaia said, before the snow melts.