Julia turned around and Gaia was not where she last saw her, a couple of steps behind. She looked around the crowded campo but could not see her anywhere. She had just turned her sight away for a second and Gaia had disappeared. She called her name and no one answered. She waked a few steps in the direction of the canal, reached the edge of the pavement and called again. She looked in the water, yet only fishes could be seen. In the last image she could see in her mind Gaia was playing with a pool of water coming out of the grates on the pavement, as the tide was rising. She was splashing the water with her feet and laughing. On a hot day like that, in one of the largest campi of the city, there were probably over a thousand people around her. Julia looked up, bolted to a door and rang a bell. Then another and another, until the door opened, Julia rushed in and up the stairs, until she reached the second floor, then she rang the door to her right. An old woman opened the door. Good morning, I just lost my young friend in the crowd, could you allow me for a second on your balcony to look around? The woman opened the door and let her in. Julia dashed to the balcony through a small corridor and a room with a bed with a green blanket on it. She looked down, then left, then right, then she saw her. She cried Gaia, but the girl was too far to be heard. She looked at her for a moment, then dashed back to the door, crossing the woman who had just appeared in the room. Thank you thank you I saw her I will come again thank you, Julia said. She left the building and run to the place where she last saw Gaia and there she was, with a serious look in her face. Julia hugged her and Gaia hugged her back but said nothing. They stood there for a moment, then returned to the old woman to thank her. Julia showed the spot where Gaia was standing when she saw her, and the woman offered them some biscuits before they left. Gaia was quiet at dinner that night and Julia said nothing about the accident, she explained Kristen that the streets were very crowded on that day and that it took them a long while to return home.
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