The Black Sheep

Reaching the end of my walk, I breasted the hill on my way home. The sun had set some while ago and the sky was heavy with clouds. The temperature had fallen since sunset and rain was in the air. I peered over the low stone wall in search of the two sheep that grazed in what had once been a vineyard but was now a tangled mess of weeds. The shy one was a delicious motley brown, like chocolate and cream. The other, more adventurous, was a dirty black, flecked with seeds garnered from lounging in the grass. I clicked my tongue in welcome. The two were used to villagers greeting them. I could just make out the dark form of the more forthcoming of the two. As my eyes adjusted to the light I noticed a young woman, or maybe it was a girl, crouched with the sheep in her arms, her head nestled against its head. “Good evening,” I said, startled at seeing her there. Her pale face slanted in my direction, shockingly white in the dark. “Good evening,” a scared voice whispered. I read so much into that voice, that face. Vulnerable, like a lost child, alone in a field at night. Alarmed at being discovered in a compromising position by an unknown man. Guilty about being caught doing something that might not be socially correct. Annoyed at being disturbed during an intimate communion. Distressed about having to seek solace from an abandoned animal. Stricken by the impossibility of life, her life… So many stories that  spun off invitingly into the night.

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