I am sitting here in a state of some irritation because, although I should be enjoying the expansive view of Spanish buildings, apartments, streets and people here from the balcony of my third-floor hotel room on la gran via in sweltering Madrid, instead I am brought to mind of a very special, somewhat personal obsession that I have had for longer than I can remember. I am writing of course about the rain and the dancing girl.
It begins like this, or at least it usually does (I refine, hone, and sometimes dramatically alter the story depending upon my mood): A young girl, perhaps five or six, wakes up early, earlier than anyone else in her family and, before the sun has risen she has had a glass of milk, brushed her teeth and her hair, and has left her home to head toward the beach, with her little puppy (Rex – Rufus – Jack – Albert – Cube – Misfit – Patches – Socks: it changes) in tow. Sometimes is the puppy’s first time to the water and he is excited and anxious, tugging at the collar he has only recently begun wearing and haphazardly navigating tree roots and fast moving sand. And then other time he is a pro, confidently braving the jumps from step to step, and rushing ahead as much as his leash will allow.
At any rate they arrive. The sun is close to appearing and the sky has lightened to a pale blue. There may be seagulls in the air, or the clicking of little crabs in the sand, but there is never another person in sight. Out of nowhere it rains, the water becomes choppy, and the story changes.
The next thing that happens is:
- The girl drowns attempting to save the puppy in the storm;
- The puppy and the girl splash happily through the water and the girl is scolded for ruining her shoes;
- The puppy digs holes in the sand and uncovers a stash of treasure but the girl is too young to recognise it and leaves the notes to scatter in the wind and rain;
- Or perhaps the puppy uncovers a crab which, in its anger, pinches his nose;
- The girl is attacked by a seagull and returns home running and crying, the puppy bravely attempting to keep up;
- A whale beaches itself nearby and the girl – puppy following – appears on morning television programmes for a week before her story, and she herself, are forgotten;
- A faraway shipwreck spills its goods on to the beach leaving crates of wool, electronics, furniture, crockery, plastic contains, thimbles.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.