Usually Felice, the girl at the photo lab in the village, appears bored, indifferent. When I entered yesterday her dark Mediterranean eyes flashed me a strange, intense look. She went to the box of envelopes, found mine, and put it on the counter. She rang up 14 Euros, gave me six in change.
Again she looked at me intently.
“That kitten,” she said. “Is it sick?”
For a moment I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I remembered. Last week, on my way down a narrow stairway near Citera, I heard a faint mewling. I bent down. The tiny kitten shivered, then got very still. I waited. No movement. I picked it up, still warm, and put it on the slope beside the steps.
“No, I’m afraid it was dead.”
Felice gave me a final sharp glance then turned, and disappeared into the back room.
* * *
In the same batch of photos were several I took at Sylvia’s a couple days ago. “You must come at once,” she’d said on the phone. “I’ve got something to show you.”
On the white mesh of a food cover was a baby bat, not more than four centimeters long.
“See?” Sylvia said.
“Where did you get it?”
“My pupil, Roberto, found it in his garden.”
The baby bat crawled a short distance on the mesh.
“He’s quite alert and lively.”
“Yes. And that’s because we have been busy hunting flies. When we catch one we mash it and feed it to him. He gobbles it right down.”
“Looks like he’ll survive.”
“Yes, I think so. Cute little thing, isn’t he?”