Chapter 15. The Eastern Sky, once again

4 a.m.
For Rocco now, it is the most attractive time of the day. Even though Rocco has just finished a long talk with Father, he doesn’t look tired at all. He was looking far ahead of the staircase. For the first time, he put his hand on the handrail with the pattern of Chinese quince. He looked up the staircase which drew a mild curved line to the second floor and felt tense. He went up and down the stairs for many times. He feels it was a long ago when he played tag with Kii.
The staircase is luxuriously built, with wide steps and low risers. But it is hard to climb for Rocco now. I have to get used to it as soon as possible, he told himself while climbing up one step by one step cautiously.
Something is different–view and smell. Rocco squatted, and the view was different again. “I used to climb up the stairs looking at the grain pattern of the wood.” When he reached to the top of the stairs, he made a low sound of surprise. He found that walls of both sides are covered with Gobelin fabric of deep Bordeaux color up to a meter high from the floor. Its color must have been subdued originally, but faded color is very chic and tasteful. Cool!
And there are many paintings hung on the walls. Curious Rocco stood on tiptoe to see what kind of paintings they are.
“Oh, they aren’t paintings. They are photos. They are photos of cats. Oh, it’s me. This one, that one, that one over there, all are photos of me.
“When was I photographed? Oh, I remember. When I was about one year old, Father suddenly began taking photos of me. Since Father is a perfectionist, he always took time to prepare thoroughly.
He spent half a day painting white a space of 15 square meters beside his study. He told proudly to Mother and Kii that he made a nice studio. When they peeked in while he was taking photos, he said, ‘Hey, don’t enter while I’m taking photos.’ He became a complete photographer.
“In those days, I was a kitty who didn’t know anything. Father looked into the finder as he put me on the chair or on the floor.
He turned down the light, put three thin flash-lights in between his left fingers, and touched my face or body with them, while holding the camera in his right hand. I was, of course, quite different from me now, and was very mischievous. I didn’t hold still for more than five seconds. As I moved, he put me back. I moved again and he put me back again.
“As I look back, Father must have hard time. I’m sure all these photos are of me, but I have so many expressions! It looks like someone else, but not me. Oh, I remember.
Come to think of it, Father used to murmur something I didn’t understand before pressing the shutter. Well… Rocco was looking for the memory file of that time. Ah, that’s it.
“Listen, Rocco, Hamlet is looking for himself! He is in agony, for he lost himself. Ophelia doesn’t matter. That’s it! That’s a good expression!” Click!
“Rocco, East of Eden is a good movie. Elia Kazan, James Dean. I saw it when I was 14. I was moved to tears. I was at a rebellious age and I was glad that I could find my movie. Well, Rocco, the hero Cal wants to enter his father’s mind. He wants to be recognized, be loved, and love him. And Cal is James Dean himself. So, don’t try to overact. That cool expression, glancing up, is very good!” Click!
At that time, Rocco didn’t understand what was going on at all. But Father was pleased with himself ignoring what was happening. Father had been thinking that pet photos were all stereotyped, and was thinking of taking photos of Rocco, not only the cute ones but also many aspects of him.
However, apparently it must have been really hard to take photos of a cat. Now he sees them well organized and hung carefully. When he looked closely on the wall, he saw a digital camera shot of Father, Mother, and Kii carelessly put askew with a pin. Rocco removed the pin, put the photo straight, checked the balance, and put the pin back into the wall. Their faces now look at Rocco straight. “Father, Mother, and Kii” Rocco was overwhelmed with emotion and his big eyes were filled with tears. He cannot see anything now.
Rocco was raised under loving care of the family, but now that he is growing so fast, he realized his destiny. The time will come when he has to leave them. Rocco began walking with his face up not to let tears fall, at least till he reaches the eastern bow window. Now he stood in front of the bow window. Both curtains are open. He put his hands on the edge of the window and slowly closed his eyes.
He feels his tears falling along his tiny nose. His face tickles.
Rocco didn’t climb on the window but looked up the eastern sky. It was shining in the same place as usual. It is the morning star, Venus. He murmured and then noticed something all of a sudden. He turned his eyes to the painting on his right. “Ah, I see, it was Venus! I didn’t notice that there hung a painting of Venus. Well, then, that Lady must have been Aphrodite, for she was talking so much about Love.
One word from another comes from Rocco’s mouth and solves questions. It was not sure whether she is Aphrodite or not, but what is sure is that Rocco changed completely. He now has extensive knowledge. He was feeling nice looking at the small shining star in the eastern sky, telling himself that this should be the last time to see it.