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It isn’t easy to describe Lara, the lady with the dogs, my neighbor. Lara is a nurse.
Last week, I was sweeping the front yard when I saw her pacing up to get to her car she often parks across the street to save time from taking it out of the garage. Her movements mechanical and sharp. Always in a hurry. Lara wants to be left alone. I can see that. It’s not as if she doesn’t want to connect with you. She doesn’t have the time.
Lara takes her three dogs out at 6 a.m. and sometimes in the evening. I am never up so early, but my husband tells me so. He knows Lara’s whereabouts. He is an early riser. As for the evening, we often see her when we sit and have our beer out on the porch when time is kind with us. My husband is fond of Lara and admires her for what she is able to pull off even if we have no details. I keep telling him we have no details. He doesn’t need any details. But I do.
A big house is tough to manage. Not for Lara. She can do it. And she’s got three kids. And three dogs. I guess one for each kid. And a husband. The husband didn’t get to have a dog. My husband bets she has a boyfriend, too. “Good for her,” I say.
It’s a mystery how Lara pulls it off. Apparently, her husband helps around the house. Or maybe she’s got a mom or mother-in-law hidden somewhere like they all do but never say, or she… well, she must have help with cleaning, but even that is severely kept in absolute secrecy. There is a woman coming and going twice a week, but they always embrace, so I figure it can’t be the cleaning lady. Nobody is kind enough to tell me the truth behind Lara’s ability to do it all. And, so, as I race up and down doing what needs to be done around the house, inside me I know it’s Lara I am running against in a roadless marathon where I’m carrying along my fatigue and Lara is carrying along hers.
I go on. And if I drop down, I want to go down like a feather, fluttering left and right, hitting the ground soundlessly, effortlessly, finding myself wedged in the branch of a tree for no one to discover, or ending up in the mouth of a puppy which will bury me in a hole or let me dissipate in nature.
Magda Phili writes short stories, flash and micro. She works as a translator and lives in Italy.