Dima did not answer. He looked at the floor, at the rectangular, smooth faces of the centuries-old parallelepipeds. Then he looked once again at the narrow lane leading to the street, with the doorman’s house to the left and the white lamplights flashing like a beacon above the city, beyond the brick pavement. And then he looked to the other side, at the pink building of the ancient orphanage where he had classes. Behind it the chapel tower ostensibly showed its slow-paced clock, as it loomed in the star-spotted darkness, bereft of the city and its damp lights outside.
And from there he looked at the winged hybrid standing in the garden, alone. But then his mother showed up, hugging him and explaining that she had had a last-hour meeting at work, and Dad did not know that she could not pick him up at school. She thanked the doorman for keeping an eye on her son and, as Dima listened to the doorman’s humble reply (the kid had been behaving well, if she would not show up one of the nuns would have called his parents anyway), he started crying, and begged his mother to go home. She deduced that he was hungry, he had not had food since the mid-afternoon snack, and he said good-bye to the doorman and they left. On the way home he pictured in his mind the simple dinner the doorman’s family would have, he pictured the daughter with the limp running around the house at night, and he felt compassion for them (maybe he did not know yet what compassion was in theoretical terms, but he felt it nevertheless). But he wanted to go to bed now.
And, in the darkness of his room, hearing the low humming of cars on the street outside, he could not scare away from his mind the image of the granite-bodied creature who had kept him company at twilight. He imagined him shivering with cold and with fear of the hounds; even though he was one of those half-Godlike creatures who were closer to God than us, the angel was alone in the garden, stuck to the grayish pedestal. Dima turned around in bed, and different thoughts entertained his slumber.