The house is dark, everyone asleep but the Woman, who is sitting at her open bedroom window crying and sneaking a smoke, a secret she will keep from everyone but the dog who is sleeping in the kitchen after having its attempts to comfort (the chewed red ball fetched and dropped to bounce tantalizingly at her vulnerable bare feet) rebuffed. The secret will of course be safe with the dog, who even in his sleep sniffs at the acrid scent on the air, twitches his ears and whines softly, but otherwise will do nothing to give the Woman away in the morning.
It has been a good day for the dog, with not one walk but two. There was the usual morning walk, somewhat foreshortened – the dog pulled once, politely, at the leash when the Woman tried to take him back to the house too soon. Didn’t she know the letterbox was just ahead, with its invisible forest of canine effluvia?
But the woman turned them back, and the dog went, disappointed, but only for a moment, as is the way with dogs.
The second walk was unexpected, and very welcome, because it followed a loud conversation between the Woman and the Man. It was not the loudness that had troubled the dog, but the spikiness of the words they spoke to each other. Their words were like sharp little spears that made the dog’s tail tuck itself up under the belly and quiver.
The second walk lasted very long – an unheard of hour, and though the Man did not let the dog run free as was their usual custom, there was still plenty of rabbits in the brushy scrub, and the briney smell of the ocean, and the wind that blew the dog’s ears pleasantly around its head.
Now the dog lay dreaming on the cool linoleum of the dark kitchen, the oven still emanating faint heat and smells of tomato sauce. The dog dreams of the walk, the second walk, the good one. In it the Woman kisses the man at the door, and ruffles the dogs ears and asks who’s a good boy; in it the man unsnaps the red leash and the dog is free to chase the brown rabbits, cotton-tailed tumbleweeds that dart just out of reach of his twitching paws.
“Their words were like sharp little spears that made the dog’s tail tuck itself up under the belly and quiver.”
I love this, because no one ever thinks about how their tone and negative energy affects the animals around them.
I know! But dogs are just as emotional as people. Just watch one while loved ones are arguing, they are the picture of misery. (I’m a dog person, of course).
Poignant story–well done! I’ll be sharing this.
Thank you, fellow dog lover!
Pingback: Divorce: A Dog’s Eye View | Carol Ervin's Author Site·
My dog passed away 3 years this past February. She was 14. So very painful to this day. She was so in tune with her/my environment…
Your post hits its mark…
Thanks Joseph. It’s a sad mark to hit! My guy lived to be 19, he passed 5 years ago. It was the saddest event of my whole life, holding him at the end. His spirit is still all around me, and shows up in my writing sometimes.
I have my baby’s paw inked on my hand & her face on my chest…I know your pain, trust me.
It’s beautiful that you still remember him the way you do. My little AJ lives in me every day
I love the way you view things and express them in your writings.