I remember that winter I wrote a paper comparing two short stories by Garshin, a 19th century Russian writer.
I think the first story was about an institutionalized man who heard a red flower speaking to him. And the second was about a railroad employee who bled onto a rag, which he waved in order to stop an oncoming train. I don't remember what the danger was, but I think he died.
The professor asked me why I had chosen these stories in particular. I didn't say that it was the strong presence of red. She said, "You can't compare two things just because they exist."
I felt a closeness with Garshin before I ever read him: his face was on the cover of the Russian language map of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the first few years of the 21st, and has hung in every apartment or office I've inhabited, since then.
It's not on view at the moment; I wish it were so I could startle Garshin (and myself) one afternoon, mosey into the room, and catch (and look into) his dire eye. And hear the silence of the security guard fall more silent still.