By Adina Pelle
It was springtime, one like any other ones, during a year like many others in Serghei’s life.
He noticed how lately, he started to forget things. For example, often, was unable to remember where he left his thick, black rimmed glasses he had used only fifteen minutes before, to watch television. It happened several times, and every time he feverishly looked through the whole house, in closets and under the bed. Sometimes the glasses were in his pocket. Other times, just because life comes with an odd twist, he’d find them hanging around his neck as he was bending to look under the bed.
There were other things Serghei seemed to forget but each day being the same as the one before in his small Universe, made it less obvious.
For a couple of years, every Sunday morning, when the church bells rang and woke him up, he watched a bit of the news on TV, ate breakfast, and after having sought his glasses and found them hanging around his neck, Serghei would through his green coat on his shoulders, grab his walking stick, and step out of the house.
Today, was no different. He woke up as he always did on Sundays. Despite his wide opened eyes seemingly fully alert, Serghei did not see the mutt approaching him. Only when he felt a touch on his feet that startled and surprised him did he notice the small dog, Stray, black and skeletal, with big, brown, and moist eyes.
“Shoo! “ Serghei told him, gently poking his stick towards the dog.
The mutt left but came right back and snuggled next to his feet, shaking gently.
Serghei became increasingly annoyed. He wanted to sit alone with his thoughts. Using his walking stick again, he pushed it in the dog’s soft body, this time with some brutality.
“Shoo, didn’t you hear?” he shouted.
Whinnying, the dog backed away and no longer huddled near the old man’s feet. His brown eyes, as if trying to ask forgiveness for some unforgiving carelessness, stared straight at the old man’s face.
Serghei felt suddenly sorry for his rough treatment. Undecided, he stood still for a moment looking puzzled at the little black creature. Finally, with a sigh, he rose from the bench and entered the house. The dog followed him and crouched on the porch.
When the old man returned, he had a bowl full of milk in his hands. Sitting back on the bench, he put the bowl down.
The dog approached him shy first but because there was no cane in sight anymore, thus no imminent threat, he picked up courage and approached the bowl. The milk was warm and fresh, and the dog drank quickly and with joy. After finishing, he crouched near the man’s feet, no longer rebuked.
Serghei and his new friend stayed out until the evening came, silent and cold.
Then they both entered the house, in total silence.