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Trail: EyesOfABlueDog



Eyes of a Blue Dog
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Then she looked at me. I thought that she was looking at me for the first time. But then,
when she turned around behind the lamp and I kept feeling herslippery and oily look in
back of me, over my shoulder, I understood that it was I who was looking at her for the
first time. I lit a cigarette. I took a drag on the harsh, strong smoke, before spinning in
the chair, balancing on one of the rear legs. After that I saw her there, as if she’d been
standing beside the lamp looking at me every night. For a few brief minutes that’s all we
did: look at each other. I looked from the chair, balancing on one of the rear legs. She
stood, with a long and quiet hand on the lamp, looking at me. I saw her eyelids lighted up
as on every night. It was then that I remembered the usual thing, when I said to her:
“Eyes of a blue dog.” Without taking her hand off the lamp she said to me: “That. We’ll
never forget that.” She left the orbit, sighing: “Eyes of a blue dog. I’ve written it

I saw her walk over to the dressing table. I watched her appear in the circular glass of the
mirror looking at me now at the end of a back and forth ofmathematical light. I watched
her keep on looking at me with her great hot-coal eyes: looking at me while she opened
the little box covered with pinkmother of pearl. I saw her powder her nose. When she
finished, she closed the box, stood up again, and walked over to the lamp once more,
saying: “I’mafraid that someone is dreaming about this room and revealing my secrets.”
And over the flame she held the same long and tremulous hand that she hadbeen
warming before sitting down at the mirror. And she said: “You don’t feel the cold.” And I
said to her: “Sometimes.” And she said to me: “You mustfeel it now.” And then I
understood why I couldn’t have been alone in the seat. It was the cold that had been
giving me the certainty of my solitude. “NowI feel it,” I said. “And it’s strange because
the night is quiet. Maybe the sheet fell off.” She didn’t answer. Again she began to move
toward the mirror andI turned again in the chair, keeping my back to her. Without
seeing her, I knew what she was doing. I knew that she was sitting in front of the
mirroragain, seeing my back, which had had time to reach the depths of the mirror and
be caught by her look, which had also had just enough time to reach thedepths and
return--before the hand had time to start the second turn--until her lips were anointed
now with crimson, from the first turn of her hand in frontof the mirror. I saw, opposite
me, the smooth wall, which was like another blind mirror in which I couldn’t see her–
sitting behind me--but could imagineher where she probably was as if a mirror had been
hung in place of the wall. “I see you,” I told her. And on the wall I saw what was as if she
had raisedher eyes and had seen me with my back turned toward her from the chair, in
the depths of the mirror, my face turned toward the wall. Then I saw herlower he eyes
again and remain with her eyes always on her brassiere, not talking. And I said to her
again: “I see you.” And she raised her eyes from herbrassiere again. “That’s impossible,”
she said. I asked her why. And she, with her eyes quiet and on her brassiere again:
“Because your face is turnedtoward the wall.” Then I spun the chair around. I had the
cigarette clenched in my mouth. When I stayed facing the mirror she was back by the
lamp. Nowshe had her hands open over the flame, like the two wings of a hen, toasting
herself, and with her face shaded by her own fingers. “I think I’m going tocatch cold,”
she said. “This must be a city of ice.” She turned her face to profile and her skin, from
copper to red, suddenly became sad. “Do somethingabout it,” she said. And she began to
get undressed, item by item, starting at the top with the brassiere. I told her: “I’m going
to turn back to the wall.” Shesaid: “No. In any case, you’ll see me the way you did when
your back was turned.” And no sooner had she said it than she was almost
completelyundressed, with the flame licking her long copper skin. “I’ve always wanted to
see you like that, with the skin of your belly full of deep pits, as if you’dbeen beaten.”
And before I realized that my words had become clumsy at the sight of her nakedness she
became motionless, warming herself on the globeof the lamp, and she said: “Sometimes I
think I’m made of metal.” She was silent for an instant. The position of her hands over
the flame varied slightly. Isaid: “Sometimes in other dreams, I’ve thought you were only a
little bronze statue in the corner of some museum. Maybe that’s why you’re cold.” Andshe
said: “Sometimes, when I sleep on my heart, I can feel my body growing hollow and my
skin is like plate. Then, when the blood beats inside me, it’sas if someone were calling by
knocking on my stomach and I can feel my own copper sound in the bed. It’s like- -what
do you call it--laminated metal.“She drew closer to the lamp. “I would have liked to hear
you,” I said. And she said: “If we find each other sometime, put your ear to my ribs when
I sleepon the left side and you’ll hear me echoing. I’ve always wanted you to do it
sometime.” I heard her breathe heavily as she talked. And she said that foryears she’d
done nothing different. Her life had been dedicated to finding me in reality, through
that identifying phrase: “Eyes of a blue dog.” And shewent along the street saying it
aloud, as a way of telling the only person who could have understood her:

“I’m the one who comes into your dreams every night and tells you: ‘Eyes of a blue dog.’”
And she said that she went into restaurants and before orderingsaid to the waiters: “Eyes
of a blue dog.” But the waiters bowed reverently, without remembering ever having said
that in their dreams. Then she wouldwrite on the napkins and scratch on the varnish of
the tables with a knife: “Eyes of a blue dog.” And on the steamed-up windows of hotels,
stations, allpublic buildings, she would write with her forefinger: “Eyes of a blue dog.”
She said that once she went into a drugstore and noticed the same smell thatshe had
smelled in her room one night after having dreamed about me. “He must be near,” she
thought, seeing the clean, new tiles of the drugstore. Thenshe went over to the clerk and
said to him: “I always dream about a man who says to me: ‘Eyes of a blue dog.’” And she
said the clerk had looked at hereyes and told her: “As a matter of fact, miss, you do have
eyes like that.” And she said to him: “I have to find the man who told me those very words
inmy dreams.” And the clerk started to laugh and moved to the other end of the counter.
She kept on seeing the clean tile and smelling the odor. And sheopened her purse and on
the tiles with her crimson lipstick, she wrote in red letters: “Eyes of a blue dog.” The
clerk came back from where he had been.He told her: Madam, you have dirtied the tiles.”
He gave her a damp cloth, saying: “Clean it up.” And she said, still by the lamp, that she
had spent thewhole afternoon on all fours, washing the tiles and saying: “Eyes of a blue
dog,” until people gathered at the door and said she was crazy.

Now, when she finished speaking, I remained in the corner, sitting, rocking in the
chair. “Every day I try to remember the phrase with which I am to findyou,” I said. “Now I
don’t think I’ll forget it tomorrow. Still, I’ve always said the same thing and when I wake
up I’ve always forgotten what the words Ican find you with are.” And she said: “You
invented them yourself on the first day.” And I said to her: “I invented them because I
saw your eyes of ash.But I never remember the next morning.” And she, with clenched
fists, beside the lamp, breathed deeply: “If you could at least remember now what cityI’ve
been writing it in.”

Her tightened teeth gleamed over the flame. “I’d like to touch you now,” I said. She
raised the face that had been looking at the light; she raised her look,burning, roasting,
too, just like her, like her hands, and I felt that she saw me, in the corner where I was
sitting, rocking in the chair. “You’d never toldme that,” she said. “I tell you now and it’s
the truth,” I said. From the other side of the lamp she asked for a cigarette. The butt
had disappeared betweenmy fingers. I’d forgotten I was smoking. She said: “I don’t know
why I can’t remember where I wrote it.” And I said to her: “For the same reason
thattomorrow I won’t be able to remember the words.” And she said sadly: “No. It’s just
that sometimes I think that I’ve dreamed that too.” I stood up andwalked toward the lamp.
She was a little beyond, and I kept on walking with the cigarettes and matches in my
hand, which would not go beyond the lamp.I held the cigarette out to her. She squeezed it
between her lips and leaned over to reach the flame before I had time to light the match.
“In some city in theworld, on all the walls, those words have to appear in writing: ‘Eyes of
a blue dog,” I said. “If I remembered them tomorrow I could find you.” She raisedher head
again and now the lighted coal was between her lips. “Eyes of a blue dog,” she sighed,
remembered, with the cigarette drooping over her chinand one eye half closed. The she
sucked in the smoke with the cigarette between her fingers and exclaimed: “This is
something else now. I’m warmingup.” And she said it with her voice a little lukewarm
and fleeting, as if she hadn’t really said it, but as if she had written it on a piece of paper
and hadbrought the paper close to the flame while I read: “I’m warming,” and she had
continued with the paper between her thumb and forefinger, turning itaround as it was
being consumed and I had just read “. . . up,” before the paper was completely consumed
and dropped all wrinkled to the floor,diminished, converted into light ash dust. “That’s
better,” I said. “Sometimes it frightens me to see you that way. Trembling beside a lamp.”

We had been seeing each other for several years. Sometimes, when we were already
together, somebody would drop a spoon outside and we would wakeup. Little by little we’d
been coming to understand that our friendship was subordinated to things, to the
simplest of happenings. Our meetings alwaysended that way, with the fall of a spoon
early in the morning.

Now, next to the lamp, she was looking at me. I remembered that she had also looked at
me in that way in the past, from that remote dream where I madethe chair spin on its
back legs and remained facing a strange woman with ashen eyes. It was in that dream
that I asked her for the first time: “Who areyou?” And she said to me: “I don’t remember.”
I said to her: “But I think we’ve seen each other before.” And she said, indifferently: “I
think I dreamedabout you once, about this same room.” And I told her: “That’s it. I’m
beginning to remember now.” And she said: “How strange. It’s certain that we’vemet in
other dreams.”

She took two drags on the cigarette. I was still standing, facing the lamp, when suddenly
I kept looking at her. I looked her up and down and she was stillcopper; no longer hard
and cold metal, but yellow, soft, malleable copper. “I’d like to touch you,” I said again.
And she said: “You’ll ruin everything.” Isaid: “It doesn’t matter now. All we have to do is
turn the pillow in order to meet again.” And I held my hand out over the lamp. She didn’t
move. “You’llruin everything,” she said again before I could touch her. “Maybe, if you
come around behind the lamp, we’d wake up frightened in who knows what partof the
world.” But I insisted: “It doesn’t matter.” And she said: “If we turned over the pillow,
we’d meet again. But when you wake up you’ll haveforgotten.” I began to move toward
the corner. She stayed behind, warming her hands over the flame. And I still wasn’t
beside the chair when I heard hersay behind me: “When I wake up at midnight, I keep
turning in bed, with the fringe of the pillow burning my knee, and repeating until dawn:
‘Eyes of ablue dog.’”

Then I remained with my face toward the wall. “It’s already dawning,” I said without
looking at her. “When it struck two I was awake and that was a longtime back.” I went to
the door. When I had the knob in my hand, I heard her voice again, the same, invariable.
“Don’t open that door,” she said. “Thehallway is full of difficult dreams.” And I asked her:
“How do you know?” And she told me: “Because I was there a moment ago and I had to
come backwhen I discovered I was sleeping on my heart.” I had the door half opened. I
moved it a little and a cold, thin breeze brought me the fresh smell ofvegetable earth,
damp fields. She spoke again. I gave the turn, still moving the door, mounted on silent
hinges, and I told her: “I don’t think there’s anyhallway outside here. I’m getting the
smell of country.” And she, a little distant, told me: “I know that better than you. What’s
happening is that there’s awoman outside dreaming about the country.” She crossed her
arms over the flame. She continued speaking: “It’s that woman who always wanted to
havea house in the country and was never able to leave the city.” I remembered having
seen the woman in some previous dream, but I knew, with the door ajarnow, that within
half an hour I would have to go down for breakfast. And I said: “In any case, I have to
leave here in order to wake up.”

Outside the wind fluttered for an instant, then remained quiet, and the breathing of
someone sleeping who had just turned over in bed could be heard. Thewind from the
fields had ceased. There were no more smells. “Tomorrow I’ll recognize you from that,” I
said. “I’ll recognize you when on the street I seea woman writing ‘Eyes of a blue dog’ on
the walls.” And she, with a sad smile--which was already a smile of surrender to the
impossible, theunreachable--said: “Yet you won’t remember anything during the day.”
And she put her hands back over the lamp, her features darkened by a bitter
cloud.“You’re the only man who doesn’t remember anything of what he’s dreamed after
he wakes up.”