In loving memory of Thomas. Thank you for the entire 18 years of happiness together.
A woollen curl
… She was on the most beautiful beach of the coast; warm breeze was blowing from the side of the ocean, slowly driving the coastal waves on white sand. She was going to leave, but all of a sudden she heard a pleasant voice, uttering something in Spanish. She didn’t understand a word, but the voice was pleasing to her ear.
Having turned around, she saw a young man, slowly approaching the beach. It looked as if he was talking to his very self. A moment later she saw a cute black spaniel next to him, treading by in a friendly manner. The spaniel’s fur was all wet, as if he had just made a marathon swim across the Atlantic.
The owner of the spaniel looked pretty odd, wearing white running shoes and slightly dingy football pants, as if he had just participated in the match Zenit-Spartak. He was talking to his dog.
From outside it looked pretty weird, because in Russia not so many people will venture to talk to a dog. An involuntary witness to that scene started to feel very uncomfortable. It seemed that she met halfway with another urban lunatic who overheated himself in the warm Canarias sun and was about to start bothering her.
She was about to leave, but all of a sudden was stopped stiff, as if by an invisible hand. She was looking at those two and couldn’t figure out what the matter was.
And suddenly it struck her – those two did not seem to notice anything and anyone around: the owner and his dog – two bosom friends, two kindred souls, two hearts, bound forever.
They were feeling joyful, well and happy together, and they didn’t give a damn about what was going around and what people would think about the subject of their conversations.
The owner of the spaniel lifted a light volcanic rock and threw it into the freshly created breakwater. The dog, happily wagging his tail, rushed after the stone. An enchanting game began. She, having long ago forgotten her intention to leave, was watching them. There, the dog runs along the cutwater and then returns.
The owner talks to him again, as if telling him what had piled up during a day, what he wanted to share most. The dog saw some outlandish bird, running along the sandy edge of the beach on its fragile paws, and rushed happily after her.
A wink later the young woman, observing this scene, shivered again. The man, not having removed anything from his football ammunition, even heavy leather running shoes, plunged into the ocean, that started directing waves. ‘To bad weather’ – she thought. – ‘No, for sure he is a lunatic. That, at least, they usually think.’
People on the beach seemed to think the same. Tourists that were hiding under a tent were pointing fingers at him, muttering something to each other.
She picked up her flip-flops and lifted the bag to leave, but stopped abruptly, as if hammered to earth. The dog, whining piteously, rushed after his man, as if afraid to stay alone in that world, incomprehensible for him and that is why so hostile. Everything indicated that the dog was not a top class swimmer; having swum just ten meters, he was completely out of breath and tried to turn back, but even the fear of drowning in the ocean could not conquer his desire to be with his master, his crony, his best friend.
The owner, seeing desperate attempts of his darling pet to catch up with him, turned back.
Having returned to the shore, he put his arms around the furry little body, hugged it tightly and started muttering something in Spanish. Probably he was asking forgiveness for having abandoned his friend. That, at least, is how it looked like in the dogs’ world.
…She was already unable to hear anything. Tears veiled her eyes, but she did not notice them.
Instead of the ocean she saw water, but very different one, tranquil brownish, it was not even the ocean, but rather a small pond, with banks covered with growing reeds and sedge.
She stands knee-deep in that water, about to swim to the opposite bank. She is twenty years younger, slimmer and more fearless. Her hands put together, she counts to three: One, two …. three! And, dashing like a bullet into the water of the village pond, she vigorously starts to paddle with her hands, hoping not to meet a leech or anything else ready to spoil her marathon.
And suddenly she hears a hurried breathing behind her, as if someone was trying to catch up with her and render something of supercosmic importance. She turns back and sees a dog. His name is Thomas, he was born a black curly poodle and is very proud of the fact that he has such a wonderful breed and owner, who always has food and warm shelter for him.
It was not so long ago that he became curly. Just a few months earlier he turned from a fat furry galoot, paddling through puddles, into a handsome curly-haired good-looker, the pride of his owners and their neighbours’ dream.
But what is he doing here?
She has already reached the middle of the pond. He can get drowned. She urges him to swim back. The dog turns back, showing respect. But the fear to once and forever lose his friend, his only support in this world, overflows everything and he, overcoming fatigue, yet turns around and follows her. Contrary to her plans she has to come back.On the shore she put her arms around her furry friend and muttered: ‘Little fool, where are you rushing? You could have drowned in that manner! You are a room dog, not a river one.’And having stroked his curly coat, she put a leash on him.And so they went, the dog and his owner, noticing nothing and nobody around. From the outside it probably looked a little odd – she walked, as if speaking to herself. Villagers, passing by, probably thought that she was some kind of an urban lunatic.But those two, treading in pace along the dusty village track, could not care less.