Today a bit of non-fiction. Which means it really happened.
A red dog
The old man across the street needs a ride home. He was standing next to the primary school and waved down my car not knowing who I was. I pass his house daily, he never passes ours. When he opened the door and looked inside, a smile illuminated his face, as if he’d seen Virgin Mary.
We chat often. He takes a daily stroll with his omnipresent cane and our paths often cross. One day he showed me his cane and I saw – that it was no cane at all. It was a metal thing with a very sharp point. For criminals, he said. You never know who you meet out here in the open. Hm, I meet only you, I thought.
Another time he asked me how many years I’d give him. I said fifteen fewer than the number in my head. He proudly exclaimed he was 85 (I think, his dialect is heavy and I’m a foreigner). I asked him if he would get another dog since his old female dog had died recently. He said he would love to but his wife was not in favour.
The third time he was almost teary-eyed. He asked me if I’d seen a cane rosso. A red dog. He used to have a red dog but he ran away. He saw him just earlier, by the road, he said. I looked deeply into his eyes and tried to determine the level of illusion. Tell me if you see him, he said.
And now I’m giving him a ride home. He is happy and grateful. I tell him that I saw him in his garden with a new dog. A puppy was following the man’s every step as he was hobbling around his garden with his cane. It made me smile.
He smiles again, virgin Mary-like. It’s a silly dog, he says, breaking everything, chewing everything.
I’m so glad he has another dog. It’s not red though. I can now forget how later that same day when he told me of the cane rosso in tears, I was driving on that same road and looked in the rearview mirror, and damn if he wasn’t right there, below the lamp.
A small red dog, in the twilight.
In photos, what there is around here at the moment: A Mercedes Benz (not mine), a yellow dog (mine), whole lot of flowers and a white cat.