City noise had dissolved after the rainstorm. The burst had settled down, transposed into harmony, as all extreme outbreaks bring in the end. The soil was still wet and soggy and the sun shying away, stubbornly refusing to show up. All movement seemed paused and for a little bit, it felt like a deep stillness had taken over. In the little patio beside the shack, there was a little round steel table. Curved with a labyrinth of lines all around its surface. Mark of its old age. Little branches were all over it covering it up with a layer of dusty veil. The brick walls around the garden were softened up, lacking any firmness, felt more like made out of biscuits rather than stone and cement. Ingrained in the environment, green leafs seemed to deluge all over it as if they were coming from within.
An old figure started making its way towards the chair. The prolonged, wearisome strolling made a crunchy noise with the little pebbles in the ground. Robert was the sole inhabitant of the place. Tall, slim, and fragile was part of the place for more than anyone could remember. His sailor black woolen hat together with his pipe would make him resemble popeye. The wrinkles in his face were deep and distinguished. His eyes had something of the eagle look. Kind and humble full of the wisdom of a lifetime.
«This place needs a total remake» He grunted with a displeased tone. He took a notebook and a pen out and rest them upon the table. His movements gentle and soft, like carrying something delicate. He started scrabbling over his notebook. Having followed the career of a journalist and writer throughout his life, with a distinctive success, had left him upon with the habit of putting words on paper at times. The whole process was part of him. From the left side of the garden, came a little noise around the leaves in the corner. A cat made its way towards him, with a fluid swing. It stopped 5 feet away and stood tall on its back legs. The tail hugged over its 4 legs as the last act of a show. Robert looked over at it.
«Ohh it’s you again. I hope you are not after more food mister, you have already eaten a full bowl». The cat seemed to be looking at him unreactive straight in the eye. It was a big proud cat with an impressive big head and green eyes that would reflect the universe back at you like a diamond. Almost black in its entirety except for the front part. Most of the under-belly till the top of its jaws was a pure sheep white, fuzzy and curly.
«You little black whale! You have quite the appetite don’t you!» The cat seemed to have a special hold on the old man. It would draw his attention constantly. A bit distant and reserved, not the kind of cat that would keep rubbing its head around your feet or that would easily allow you to come close to it at all. Considerate and modest yet still, it wouldn’t let you take your eyes off it as if it had a spell of its own.
The old man raised from his chair and dragged his body back inside his shack. He opened one of its draws, full of little round cat-food cans. He picked one and empty it in a little bowl.
«One needs to please its master». He whispered.
He refined the bowl and moved it back outside.
«Here you go little sir. Anything else you might need I’ll be at your service».
A little smile drew open the old man’s face. He attempted to move over his chair again before another sound came about. The phone started ringing urgently over the house.
«Ohh.. can’t somebody find some peace around here anymore?». He moved inside again, picked the mobile on his hand, and started moving to the table again all while answering it.
«Daddy! how are you doing?»
«Didn’t you recognize me yet?»
«Ohh.. of course I did what kind of talk is that.»
«Daddy happy birthday! I wanted you to know you have the best wishes from everyone here. And the little girls are sending you over some kisses. We love you.».
The old man started sitting back at his chair with a slow considerate struggle.
«Ohh darling that’s so nice of you. You are so sweet. That is highly appreciated! Aren’t you coming over tonight?»
«Ohh yeah, about that..look dad.. John received a last-minute call to attend a business event tonight and.. you know.. it’s quite important..»
Robert glanced over at the cat.
«It’s not something he can avoid, all the big heads are gonna be there, and his boss is gonna be there. You know how serious he is about all that.»
«Darling of course I know. Don’t even mention it. There is nothing to worry about»
«Daddy I really want to make up to you for this. This is not what we wanted.»
«Honey, no discussion about it at all. Case closed! I wait already some people, Dianna is coming and a couple of friends over the neighborhood are gonna be here. It’s gonna be a blast.»
«Are you sure it’s fine? Will you forgive me for it?»
«Now that’s a silly girl. You know that? Things can get quite silly?». The smile in the old’s man face transferred vividly in his voice as well.
«Of course it is honey. You just make sure you have a great time and don’t worry about it. Ok? I want you to focus on having as much of a good time as you possibly can».
«Dianna should be there soon and Daddy I promise you. I’m gonna make up for it.»
«Not a problem. Have a good night now. Have fun..»
He closed the phone and left it over the table. He looked over at the cat.
«What are you looking at, she has to attend that thing, its not even her choice!». He shrugged.
«Ohh never mind..»
The cat kept staring unimpressed. It folded its 2 legs inside its fur and half-closed its eyes. Robert turned over to his notebook again. He put out a pipe from his pocket and pressured some tobacco in it. All with very deliberate and slow movements. He revealed a long old antique lighter and sparkled it up. The smoke drew a mistified shape around him.
«You don’t have to worry buddy. Dianna should be here sooner or later.». He leaned back and snarled in content.
«I know how much you enjoy partying. You little devil.».
He sipped a big dose of smoke and breathed to the open-air watching the smoke as it goes up and vanishes in the air gradually.
Around the garden outside, the bigger part was mostly deserted. Luckily for him, he had found one of the few places in the city without any roads around or the noise of cars. There was only one big Platanus standing tall a bit further away but besides that there was just grass and rocks.
A knock came from the door.
«Ohh this must be Dianna. Just wait a minute honey, I’m coming over in a second».
There was another buzz.
«Very impatient aren’t you?»
Reaching the right side of the garden towards the door was like a different room altogether. The walls were fresh white, a lot cleaner, and seemingly as good as new. The front door was made of steel covered in solid green. He unlocked and opened it up.
«Dianna darling..ohh sorry little miss..how can I help you?»
There stood a little brunette girl with slight dark skin and big round eyes. She was holding a magazine in front of her belly with her two hands and was clothed over her school uniform.
«Hello Mr. Bower!» She stood proud and smiley.
«Little Christina is that you?»
«Yes sir, I hope you are all well and good.»
«Yes, sure everything is fine. What do you have there for me?»
«It’s our little magazine depicting all ways to furnish your house. Its a special edition and we would love your contribution.»
«Sure darling, no question about it.»
He started snooping around his pockets.
«You know today is a special day. I’m waiting different people to come over. It would be very lovely for your father and you to join as well.»
Christina drew a big smile on her face. «Mr. Robert that is so kind of you. That would be really nice but my father is having the night shift tonight. Probably he’ll stay up until the morning hours.» The girl’s eyes drew disappointed while keeping the smile in her.
«That’s so bad you know» he buckled a few backs and exerted them over the little girl.
«Even Dianna is gonna be here. You know how fun this can get.»
Little Christina’s face drew cold with an abrupt change.
«Yes my second daughter, don’t you remember her?»
Christina seemed a bit lost.
«Dianna.. yeah sure I do. She is truly a great person..»
«Yes, the little devil she is.»
«Now make sure you send my regards to your father, ok? I haven’t seen this old bloke for a while.»
«Yes, sure mr. Bower..I will..».
The girl was still sluggish in her movement. Her eye darted downwards before she slowly turned left and started moving away. Robert closed the door and moved towards his table.
«I guess you don’t want to read this black whale, do you? Are you still interested in interior design?»
He smudged sarcastically.
The cat stayed there looking back at him. Somehow it kept stong on its ability to show no sign of expression.
«I better get this inside then.» Said the old man.
He slowly dragged his feet inside the house. His place was small and tidy. He passed into the hallway before he reached a little storeroom at the end of it. It was full of old magazines and newspapers gathered around over the years.
«So I guess this is your stop little interior-design magazine»
He swirled the magazine throwing it into the pile and turned back on his way. The magazine started slipping downwards. Passing one magazine after the other its downfall seemed to have no end. Finally it stopped on top of a newspaper. Its headline read:
«A Terrible Accident.
Two young women lost their lives yesterday in a tragic car accident. Fionna and Dianna Bower, distinguished minds and scientists, had the bad luck of taking a walk near the Merrion square before a vehicle lost control and crashed over them. According to the state police, toxicological blood tests will be conducted soon but witnesses claim the driver was in an intoxicated state. The car was in…»