The skittering shadow of an invisible dog
(Excerpt of Shadows of invisible dogs)
He had seen her on a photograph in faded, uncertain colors as if taken in the 70's; she posed at sunset in front of an ivory stone wall that leant against the outstretched limbs of a lone fig tree. Her silhouette in barely discernible pink was caught up in the stonework's pattern of cracks as within a great calloused hand, whose grasp also held the blurry skittering shadow of a dog. This invisible dog annoyed him inexplicably and he turned the photo face down on the table.
The little one sat up on her knees again with her head drooping on her chest. The sconce vaguely illuminated her and the floor lamp—the vestal white sheets at her back. A gentle aura flitted across her little bronze shoulders, cast by the spectral arks from the television. In a few moments, the advertisement from the street would drown her entire tiny world in its unintelligible crimson trance. How does she bare it? He cringed, surprised at himself. This orgy of lights.
"Do you like dogs?" he asked despondently.
"I love them. And ice cream. And I can make soap bubbles. I've got three beetles in a matchbox," she said quickly. "Have you ever seen a paratuchist?"
The subsiding accelerando still fluttered in the uppermost regions of his memory. The opening chords of another Chopin nocturne, one he also liked, though not as much, started playing, slowly, half-heartedly.
Can an invisible dog be visible?
"You can't see any, can you?" she spoke up desolately. "Paratuchists."
It seemed as if the music came from her, streaming from her little bronze body, an absurdity he could not shake off.
"That's because—" he began. The phone rang in the other room and Valentina answered, Hello, yes! Oh... it's you. She made an unsuccessful attempt to lower her trained summery voice.
"That's because," he continued hurriedly, "because there is always this dog by your side, this great furry dog,—"
"You are lying," she muttered angrily. Her tiny mouth twisted in a mournful grimace. Her lashes fluttered in astonishment. "You are lying! You are lying!"
"It's true." He shuddered. "You just can't see it. It's—" He was straining to be heard over the other voice in his desperate attempt to sound sincere.
"It's totally invisible, but sometimes it leaves its SHADOW behind!" He raised his voice, and prayerfully shut his eyes.
"Don't you dare to sleep!" she demanded. "Liar!" Flaring up, the mixed up trance from across the room revealed her tears; one tiny ruby slipped down by her nose and sank into Mickey's grey head.
"Why doesn't it show itself?" she exclaimed. "Why doesn't it just—"
"Because, Eliza, it is shy." From up close, the tide of cords splashed powerfully and compassionately. "It's shy."
"Well, if I can't see it..." She leant against the edge of the bed, disappointed.
"You can't see it, but it gives signs... signals." He did not want to make any more mistakes and tried to acquire the conviction his voice lacked.
"And... the invisible dog... can be visible?" She hopped on one leg and balanced with her arms over her head.
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