They threw me a new bone today. It was a bit saltier than the last one, but I ate it anyway. It’s just like Amy’s parents to buy the newest and trendiest brand of bones. Do they not see how energetically I eat the normal brand? I’m a simple guy after all.
They are so afraid not to please. I can see their feet jerking under the table when they are surrounded by unfamiliar shoes. Their food never falls off their forks in mid-air even though I promised to vacuum any food that drops at top speed. But how can I be helpful if they do not realize who I yearn to be: an ingredient in the soup of the past, present, and future. Boiling for the coming generations to feed on.
Amy does not embody their spirits at all. She is unbiased and affectionate. That’s not to imply that the others don’t love me. It’s just that she knows that one spot-behind my ear. She tickles me until my leg twitches. Her parents just pat my head. Nice dog. Amy tells me they are good and caring people. Yet every time I kiss Amy, she tastes salty.
I try to let her know that I don’t mind the patting on the head technique. For example, Grandma’s old hands smell of memories. The moment she touches me I close my eyes. On the nights when she sings me to sleep with her hands, I dream of the most peaceful images.
The house smells of flowers in the morning and of grandma’s cooking in the afternoon. But at night, it smells of the stress from the city. That is how I know Amy’s parents are home.
Rain or shine, Amy and I take walks in the park. I drink in the smells of the fresh earth by taking long sniffs of the plants and trees.
I wonder about the statues we pass during our walks. They look cold and apathetic, although I bet they have many passions and ideas inside. They hide themselves behind a stone façade. Why are they so afraid? I wish I could tell them how beautiful they are, but they refuse to turn their heads to listen to me when I bark at them. Sometimes I pray the sun will burn away the stone and set them free.
One day, I remember trotting past an ancient woman with gnarled hands but smooth feet in sandals. She was sitting alone at a café. Actually, she was not alone; she was surrounded by pages of passions. I wanted to ask her questions and talk about all the things that fill the world with love. She was eating a scone very slowly while admiring all the passerby. I could smell it a block away. All the walking she’s done over decades, hopes, and dreams, got her to where she is: sitting in a café. If only she knew how inspiring she looks. Sitting there lost in her dreams and stories.
One fateful morning began with a smell. That smell came out of nowhere, as if a tsunami hit my ship and the sea allowed itself in.
Like a fish in an aquarium, or a widow rereading her husband’s letters: the feeling is something so familiar and yet so unreachable. Oh, that smell. A certain perfume. The sound of jingling collars. I couldn’t believe my eyes. In front of me stood a curly haired prime Donna. She told me to refer to her as “Madame.” But Amy calls her Lola.
She stayed with us for a week because her owners went on a trip. Madame told me that she specifically requested to go to the country to take a break from all the traveling and all of the pageant shoes. I was curious how she got her point across, but said nothing myself. I tried to make her feel welcome. I introduced her to my side of the sun, the olive tree in the garden, all the corners of the rooms. We took a walk by the lake. But she didn’t like any of it. She only liked that brand of bones that tasted too salty.
The thing that scared me most though was that I could not control my mind during our conversations. When her mouth opened, my mind went far afield. I had never met anyone before who spoke only to listen to her own voice, laugh at her own jokes. She told me about France, Italy, Spain. The plane rides, the cities, the salty food. All the nice china. All of her pageant shoes.
Twice. Twice she repeated a word I had never heard of before. Finally, I decided to give in.
“What’s a page-end?” I could hear the irritation in my own voice.
She told me it is a contest that rewards the most beautiful and talented participants. Her family has been winning for generations. I asked her about her passions. She replied instead by telling me about her talents, which included jumping through hoops and fashion modeling. She wondered what I would do if I were competing in a talent show. I thought about my answer before handing it to her on a surgeon’s table, ready to be cut open and inspected.
Whenever I feel lonely, I hum the lullaby my mother used to hum to me before she died. That song is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me. So I told her I would sing. But I didn’t tell her which song. Just that I would sing.
She said I was helpless. A lost cause. That my breed never won anything. We didn’t have any real talents besides being odd. Our only talent or lack thereof. Odd. That word built a thick road through my soul.
Is it odd to love it when the sun’s rays float into every single one of my pores, warming everything inside me? And is it odd to dream of beautiful images when I fall asleep thinking of my mom? Is it odd to want the normal brand of bones rather than the trendy salty one? And is it odd to live your whole life being happy merely because you are loved?
I was uncertain. This poodle that smells like a bouquet has seen so much. She must know what she’s talking about. Who am I compared to her? I have lived in this house my whole life. I smell of the sun. The only people I have ever met let me sniff their shoes.
This is all I have ever known. But I have been so happy.
The truth is that this house has so many memories. The sun has so many aromas. And the people’s shoes will take my smell with them on their journeys. Who could want more than this? I am happy. But am I in denial? Is my life where agony begins and hers where childhood dawns?
Every time I look at her, I am reminded of the statues in the park, shielding themselves behind a façade of stone. Except her façade smells of candy and shines in the dark. I feel so lonely near her. I wanted to make her happy, but I felt that the salty bones made her happier than I ever could.
By the time her owners returned and she went away, she took my fervor along. She never knew the degree to which her presence had an impact on me. Or her smell.
The other day I was walking by the lake and a familiar scent wafted towards me. I began a mini quest to locate its origins. I don’t know how long it took me, but I finally realized why it was so familiar. My heart sang. It was the smell of my mother. She was in the grass. I envisioned a little spot in the grass where she was laying. Mary and Norm were playing with me, by her sides, scratching behind my ear, warm under the gentle sun. My mother smiled at me comfortingly. The dream was so tangible, the sun was bright, music was coming from a record player in a house near by. They loved me for who I was and that was enough for them. I remember that day vividly.
And all of a sudden I was overcome by the spirit and beauty of what I saw.
Created: Nov 07, 2010two-plums Document Media