Every morning at six o'clock I leave for the forest. I love these narrow long sunbeams, the scents, the absence of people who shout, curse and forbid. I am no longer a hunter, but rather imagine myself as an explorer. I move more carefully and attentively, I consider a lot, I step on the ground as quietly as possible. I'm ten years old. I go to the forest with an old dog: a brown shaggy royal poodle, which I do not like and sometimes even beat. I take him along because this way there won’t be complaints. I hate to touch him: he has some kind of wounds on his paws; he wears bandages with some very stinky cream. This odour is now spread all around the house. Like the smell of a dying man.
At night, the poodle licks its paws but then switches to licking its underbelly. The sound drives me crazy. I am sickened by the thought that this creature seeks to pursue pleasure. It is only me who needs, who deserves to get pleasure. One day, out of desperation, I throw a heavy log at the dog.
However, the poodle is a good excuse for my early departure. I pretend to care about him. We have put up with each other for many years. During a walk, he usually ranges a little ahead of me, stopping and checking if I am following. I think he still thinks he is doing me a favour. The rest of the time we do not interact and keep our distance. Everyone goes about their own business.
I like to climb a tree and sit there continuously while the dog staggers around somewhere below. This morning was hot, and I put on a dress. Now, as I descend from the pine tree, I catch on a twig with the elastic of my new white cotton underwear. They rip with an unpleasant snap and can no longer hold on to me, they can only be removed. I stand on the ground in confusion, holding up my underwear. Suddenly, I understand that there is something very shameful in the very fact of returning home with torn panties, but I do not understand what exactly. I cannot think of an excuse for this story. The idea of telling everything as it is seems unrealistic — they will immediately suspect something. This is not just a torn knee or a punctured tyre. It just doesn't happen to the right kids. I am very nervous, struggling with panic. I look for a place to get rid of the evidence of my fall. I am scared that the neighbours will notice. They will understand everything and immediately report it to my rigorous grandmother, who will not say a word while listening but will simply assume a very upright posture. Thus – expect trouble.
I choose a litter bin away from the house. I pull out the top layer of rubbish to conceal the knickers as deeply as possible. They are too white – they don't look like old ones. This is very suspicious. Of course, just because of this, they will find me. I rub dirt onto my panties. I bury them at the bottom of the bin. I turn to look at the dog. It looks the other way indifferently, leaving me with my troubles. Good, it can't speak. I don't have to threaten it.
Slowly, confidence comes back to me. The very thought of what happened makes me very mature. Experienced. Today I will definitely tell the boy – who, of course, is very pretty, with these white angelic curls, and who also trails after me very obsessively, just coming close and staring – that I don't like him. And I will add that I do not go out with boys whose mamas still dress them in the morning. I spotted this once, hanging out under his windows. Now, I will introduce him to an understanding of how shame feels.