To act could kill the promise and the promise was sweet enough to cling to because it was alive, revived and back from a long vacation. He coughed to see if the shadow would flee. Her head snapped to the side to put both ears on the sound. The dog turned his head, looked at him, and asked, what are you doing?
The man speaks. “If you’re going to steal it then just ask for the keys, I don’t want the ignition screwed up any more that it already is.” Dog likes hearing the man’s voice and his tail wags reflexively. The shadow breathes a startled breath, flexing on the door. For a pregnant minute neither moves or speaks. It’s s a dream to both and breaking the moment could break it and wake the nightmare. Tug growls again, clicking like a ratchet. The man squeezes him and again he stops. Her shadow climbs the door as Karrera steps into view blue and ghostly, the grey streaks in her hair neon and glowing.
“Hello.” Says the man.
“Hello.” Say Karrera.
Wag, wag, wag, says Tug’s tail.
“This place is too cheap for chairs?” says Karrera.
“Too cheap for working locks too.” he says. “Sit anywhere. Should be clean…ish.” He hopes for the edge of the bed. Putting her back against the door Karrera slides down into a squat that turns into crossed legs on the floor.
“Yoga?” he asks, “Around here?”
“Find somewhere it isn’t”, she replies.
Still wagging his tail Tug starts to crawl on his belly to the foot of the bed. Rubbing his belly on the blanket he lets his back legs drag behind him because it feels good. In the reflected moonlight his black spot looks like a hole in his side. Stretched fully out he works himself to the end of the bed and drops his head down between his paws. “Wow,” says Karrera, “somebody’s working it hard.”
The man rises up on an elbow to look at Tug. “He’s a smart dog. Really smart. I don’t know how he wound up here.” But, then again neither did he. Life was the river and he had thrown himself in to be swept along, rolled, stranded in the eddy and now at least the dog drifts along with him. The silence is awkward and safe. You can’t say the wrong thing is you don’t say anything and they both didn’t want to take the wrong step. Trapped in the minefield they simply waited. Tug’s tail slows, stops but stays pointed at the ceiling as if to say to the man, “This is an asshole. You’re being one too.”
The air isn’t pregnant, the scene is not waiting for crescendo, the thing is there and quiet; not poised or prepared but real and neither dares to point at it for fear it will either materialize or disappear. It is the fear of ghosts, that they might be real or they might not. Believers never really want to know.