The Mysterious Head Under My Bed
October in Spain is quite cold for me, it’s about 12-15 degrees and though it’s already 6:00 in the morning, the sun has not come up yet. I’m used to morning sunshine in my country when the sun is up at a little before or after 5:30 in the morning. It’s my last day today in Mollina, and my things are all packed up. My roomy, Ena from Estonia, is leaving at 11am and I’m leaving at 4pm later. We have been eating our breakfast, lunch and dinner together since day 1 of the youth seminar, and sometimes with some of our groupies. And today is no different. We walk together to the University cafeteria, which is very near our dorm. We pass by a stray brown dog which has been going around the University for several days already. At the cafeteria, we have the usual breakfast: yogurt, toasted bread with cheese and eggs, coffee and blood orange, and more stories.
I remember when she said to me on the first day that she was hoping she’d get a roommate who would be nice to her or would not have unnecessary tension because of personal and social differences. She said that when she saw my name, she thought I was British and was afraid that I’d be like other British people she met in other workshops and conferences who seemed to be so feisty and snobbish. But when she saw me for the first time, she felt relieved, and we got a long in no time.
Ena is 26 years old but she looks young for her age. She has light honey-brown hair and greenish/bluish eyes. She wears thick glasses and big smile all the time. She always wears long cotton-light printed skirts, which I like a lot; a pair of sandals; and carries a blue hooded sweater if in case the temperature suddenly drops. She seems to know a lot of people, or it seems a lot of people from different European youth organizations know her. She says, “Most of us meet in the same conferences, and we have a lot here in Europe.” Both of us are quite shy and quiet unless we are in a discussion or debates, or when we need to give our in-put. We talk a lot on issues that need to be tackled. We say our opinions as needed and we participate actively in the activities. Both of us don’t smoke; and although both us love to dance, we don’t get to stay in Paco’s, the nearest and only bar in the area where young people in the workshop swarm in at night, right after the last activity which lasts until 12mn. There are 200 young participants from across the world, and there’s only one bar in the area, which is quite small. Even if I want to mingle and get to know other participants while drinking beer or vodka with them, I will die in cigarette smoke. For this reason, Ena and I spend most of our free time exchanging stories about our volunteer work and about our countries while the rest of the participants are dancing in the bar. It is only at night when the whole University is so quiet, and you can hardly see people around.
I help her carry her luggage as our room is almost on the other end of the centre from the parking. We promise that if any of us gets the chance to be in each other’s country, we will have to inform one another to have a get together and be each other’s tour guide.
It feels sad that the University is getting quieter each hour as participants leave. Suddenly, Mollina becomes a remote place. It does not feel like it belongs to Spain anymore. Spain that is lively and colorful and full of foreigners, which include me. There are very few houses and few cars passing by, after all there are less than 4000 people living in Mollina.
Ena waves goodbye as she boards the bus; and I turn around and move back to our room. The sound of the closing door resembles the silence that surrounds the whole University. Where is everybody? Perhaps, packing their stuff now and readying themselves to go back home. The placidity of the room and my own contemplation of going back home all of a sudden snaps as I hear a movement under my bed. For a moment I freeze in fear. I can’t seem to think, not even to run when the door is just behind me. I just stand there, waiting for something to come out from under the bed. Then slowly, a pepper-and-salt colored hairy head appears. I feel goose-bumps all over my body. I suddenly look at my witch-doll on top of my desk beside my bed—a doll of a beautiful smiling old granny, holding a broomstick and wearing a pointed black hat—she seems to have a wider smile than ever, and her cheeks seem to glow rosier than before. I bought her yesterday in a small spiritualist shop in Granada. What’s this?! I feel like the old lady doll is playing tricks on me. My eyes move back to the hairy thing under my bed, this time, I get the whole picture of what this creature looks like. It’s a dog, no doubt. But how did it get in, when windows and the doors were closed before Ena and I left? It’s totally ok to have a dog inside my room when you see it entering your room unlike this one; I’ve never seen this particular dog wandering around. My heart beats faster than ever. I, carefully, open the door behind me without moving my eyes away from the dog. In my mind, I ask him, “Please, leave my room because you are scaring me. Please. Please.” As if he understands me, as if he can read my mind, or probably the facial expression that shows fear, he lifts his head and crawls out of my bed and leaves my room. I shut the door so quickly and lock it. My hair still stands on its end and my heartbeat is noisier than the surrounding. I shut my eyes as I try to calm myself. I hear knocks on my door and my window. It’s the dog, it’s calling me. I can’t possibly let him in; I’m too scared to do that. I remember the untouched French bread I had from yesterday’s Granada trip. I only ate the cheese inside and saved the bread if I’d need it. I will give this bread to the dog, he is probably hungry. He keeps on knocking, the kind of knock that’s like from a person who’s in a hurry to get in. He tries to feel me; if I don’t open the door he moves next to the window, jumping, as if checking if I’m still there. When he stops knocking, I hear him making a sound, as if cooing. That’s the time when I decide to bring him the food. I open the door slightly, just enough to give him the bread which I’ve shredded while waiting for the right time to come out. After placing the bread on the outside doorstep, I again close the door. I watch him through the glass window. He’s looking at me. I nod my head to signal him to eat the bread and that’s the only time he starts eating the pieces of bread. He eats unhurriedly and turns his head towards me once in a while. When he finishes his food, he sits on my doorstep. I, on the other hand, go back to my bed and lay there for a while in a stupor. When I wake up, I check if the dog is still outside my room. But he’s not there anymore. I then pick up all the other things that I need to put in my luggage. My witch-doll, I have to carry in my right hand, like a little girl carrying her Barbie.
My other friends are already in the parking lot, waiting for the buses to arrive. It’s already 3 in the afternoon. When my bus arrives, I immediately put my luggage in the compartment; and my small bag and granny on my seat. I want to say goodbye to friends who are still waiting in the parking lot and so I step out of the bus. I bid farewell to friends and from a far, there’s seems to be another one who wants to say goodbye. In the middle of the crowd and the huge parking lot, this hairy guy, an Otterhound who a couple of hours ago scared me to death, is here right in front of me. He looks up at me while I look down at him, smiling. Mentally, I say sorry to him for being so scared and for asking him to leave my room. I really feel he understands me, even if I talk to him in English and not in Spanish. He bows his head and I pat him. He looks at me again, kneels down, and kisses my feet 3 times. He freezes me again for the second time but this time, with amazement and buoyancy.
The last day in Mollina will definitely last forever.
(open for embellishment)