An unfinished Maltese, a dying laptop and a dream of crepes stirred up a flurry of memories that became a mould for casting a new soft doll.
Strands of white crepe cotton wound around different colours of the rainbow and more, some not quite long enough and are left dangling.
Dangling like his ears, one down, the other folded and flipped over, from running too fast, after his volleyball.
The laptop is more than 10 years old, screen with a permenant giant snowflake, not safe, the browser warned. Mr Lunarian said it will be the last upgrade. It might forget. He put in a new SSD, whatever that means, and passed me a rubber-banded mint-tin. Check it’s all there, he said. I plugged it into an iPad, clicked the first folder, clicked the first file. A black photo with a blacker shadow.
Oh it’s nothing, he said.
Dog, I said. My dog.
On the white blank, I stitched a nose. Then sketched on both sides of it, black strokes.
I could not sketch out the eyes.
What if it looked like him. My heart is already heavy.
What if it looked nothing like him. My heart is already invested.
Is he gonna be happy sad or angry. Is it gonna be like him or not like him. Is it him or someone else?
There were two of them, brothers. Years ago, I had news that one of them passed. With my own old clothes, I stitched them in all colours, blue, yellow, orange, purple, anything but the white grey and brown that they were on the outside. I made the colours they were on the inside. One year when I visited my brother, I gave him a pair. My little nephew grabbed them as he did all soft toys. My brother shielded them and said these are precious, not your toys. He identified them as I had intended and I didn’t even have to say a word.
What is it tell me.
Someone smacked them with a spade. One of them fell through the elevator in space. The dog is gone.
They are crepes. Crepes sold at the lift lobby, and when chocolate sauce painted their faces, they jumped to the ground and walk.
Oh just crepes. That’s alright.
They are dogs, they are real.
The dream ran sandpaper on my windpipe like I ran too fast too far on a cold day underdressed.
I woke up and sat at the table, with the white dog. He is looking at me or through me.
What is this feeling.
I’m afraid. Afraid of forgetting the shape of what I was holding after it slipped away.
I am the mould.
From it, a cast.
The polyester nylon is shedding, getting in the way of stitches for eyes. The tail blocks the needle. Just like he would have blocked me.
No one owns you. You are a gift. I want to watch you run away from me again only to turn around wait and run again. You always came back, you only needed to know you could run. I was the one who ran away for real. I hope your memory fails you, like my laptop, and forget that you slept by my bed the first night you came home, that you first heard me say that word that became your name. I don’t want to see you again. I had been telling myself. If there was next life, let us both be butterflies.
What would appear on this furry pile of cloth. I don’t need a reference photo. It is painted on my eyelid.
Close your eyes but fight to keep them opened like trying to stay awake. When you feel the top lashes pressed against the bottom, what’s in front of you becomes columns of light becomes what’s been there all along.
A star of fabric radiates from the threaded nose.
My hand echoes my heart. I tugged too hard at the eyes. Try again. Too hard again. And still too hard. Tension raised the surface like your bulging eyes, like marbles seen from the side.
The nylon hair again gets in the way of stitching the eyes the way your hair sticks to your marble eyes. You smiled , tongue out.
Where are you now? Wherever you are, I hope you run free in the company of lettuce and volleyballs.