shiroi shippo to watashi no nichijou 02

02 White tail and footprints

This morning has been really cold.

When I went out to see the balcony of my flat on the third floor, a cold air stimulated my cheeks and as I exhaled, a white and little cloud was produced and vanished.

Looking down on the vacant land behind this building it can be seen the thin layer of this year’s first snow covering the ground.

-The snow has piled up, hasn’t it?

Standing alone on the balcony and talking to the empty space, a white tail shook in my field of view.

Making a light sound the white tail flew down with a nimble motion from the handrail toward the empty space.

After some seconds, below in the white ground little black marks were produced and the snow started to melt in these spots as if something were stepping over its thin layer surface, because of that, I stared at the ground.

Crack, crack, crack

Rhythmically the number of little spots started to increase.

While watching the white long tail merged into the colour of the snow waving swiftly, I sweep away the accumulated snow from the handrail of the balcony, but suddenly I stopped my hand.

Over the thin snow piled up on the handrail of no more than 15cm width, there was clearly visible the left footprints of a huge beast, evoking me a nostalgic recollection, I brushed all the snow but that part.

 

The first time I realized about Yukio was when I was 6 years old.

Despite the fact that I was birth a lineage of a dog god, I hardly have the ability to watch spirits, and because of that, I got a difficult position among my family relatives.

Certainly is not said directly, but it can be felt in the skin. Adults look at me with a pitiful expression, as if they were watching a pathetic thing. Furthermore whispering voices can be heard saying ‘That’s too bad’ or ‘what a pity’ and things like that. Even a child who is unfamiliar with those expressions can feel that awkward atmosphere.

Neechan, you can’t see it?

With any kind of evil intent, an innocent question. Being questioned mysteriously made me feel strange and confused.

<< I wonder what is invisible >>

<<I wonder what is visible >>

 

At that moment, finally, I realized that I was somehow different from my parents and my siblings. Although I got an explanation about the dog gods from my parents with a serious expression, I couldn’t help being shocked that I was different from my family.

Whether my older sister or my younger sister, both of them already had their dog god, and it seems that they’ve already given them a name.

Standing by my side, I wonder if there is a dog god. And if that’s the case, I wonder why I’m not able to see it.

… If I can’t see it, is not the same as it is not there?

By the time I reached that conclusion, I started avoiding my family and got used to spending my time alone. I felt awkward whether to face my parents or to play with my big brother or with my sisters, and tormented by the feeling of alienation and loneliness I avoided talking to them.

 

In a certain cold morning, I woke up early and went to the courtyard without waking my sisters up, because I noticed how the snow was piled up all over the courtyard.

Until the last year, my big brother and my sisters, all of used to wake up and dive in the snow to put down feet traces and to enjoy playing snowball fighting, but this year I couldn’t feel that way.

Wearing a red livery coat and leather boots, when the sun has not risen yet, in midst of the dimness, I went to down to the white dyed courtyard and with a crunch sound I buried my little feet in the snow.

It was when I was innocently putting footprints and making light crunch sounds.

Crack,

Crunch,

Crack, crack,

Crunch, crunch,

At the moment the sound of the footsteps walking over the snow reached my ears I raised my face and saw brand new footprints in the white carpet of snow.

It´s not mine; it was quite bigger than the palm of my hand, it was the footprints of a beast.

It is too big for a cat. It belongs to a dog?

But there is neither a dog nor a cat in this house.

At the moment I started to wonder, before my eyes it made a crack noise and the snow scattered softly. Something is going around me while making little sounds. The footprints of a huge beast were drawing a circle around my feet.

Are you there?

The moment I murmured that dumbfounded, the morning sun went into the courtyard, and something shined with a momentary flash of light, something white emerged to be seen.

Shining fur as white as snow glittered the moment was reached by the sunlight.

A tail?

It was a white tail.

I stretched my hand without thinking and touched the soft fur with my fingertips.

……

Ah, this is… this is my dog god.

Intuitively, I understood.

Even though I couldn’t see it, it was always by my side.

It was always with me, waiting for me to notice it.

The delightful white tail was being moved from right to left and from left to right and went around me countless times.

The snow in the ground started to melt because of the sun, but the white tail didn’t disappear, it always stayed by my side since that day.

As I remembered the old days, the snow that remained in the handrail fell and being taken aback by this I came to my senses. I wonder when it returned, the white tail was being swayed just by my side. Wet by the snow, cold drops started to fly everywhere.

It’s cold, Yukio.

Despite complaining, my mouth was smiling and I was thinking of preparing warm milk today.