Who’s Walking Who

It’s all a matter of reaching. Who reaches up and who reaches down. What does it look like from his perspective, down there so close to the ground with me looming above him, coming down closer, talking in that singsong voice?

I lay down here on the floor so that we’re eye to eye, but that doesn’t fly. He is not at all comfortable with me being down here at his level. He shifts, turns his head, barely tolerating my invasion of his plane. Over-thinking things as I do, it occurs to me that he has no way to return the favor without my help. I’m pretty sure it won’t be something he likes and he doesn’t. So back down he goes.

It’s tempting to install one of those home security cameras to see what he’s up to during the day while I’m at work, but I don’t. Cost aside, it seems like a violation of his privacy which, yes I know, is more overthinking on my part. Like, he wouldn’t even know. Right?

And then there’s the way he goes crazy when I get home. I’m a sucker, I’ll admit it. From the moment I shut down the computer at work, I’m already anticipating the clicking of his nails hitting the foyer floor as I turn the key. And, my God, the ecstatic leaping and twisting and wiggling and head butting that greets me. Every time I come in the door, even if I just went to the corner for beer. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually want Michele to react this way when I come home, but something more than a distracted, “Oh, it’s you” would be nice. For a change.

Getting the dog, all my idea. Michele went along after making it 100% clear that in no way was she going to walk the dog, care for the dog, or have any part of any dog-related activities. I thought that would work out and agreed readily. But here’s the thing, she doesn’t even like walking with us. Having strangers squat down and make monkey faces at the dog puts her off (I wonder if he notices it’s someone else, not me, coming down to his level and what he makes of that).

I seem to recall hearing that the original Greek word for dog was cynic and was used to denigrate non-Athenian Greeks who were forced to argue and teach outside the accepted forums of the day. I should really look that up some time. I could ask Michele. It’s kind of in line with the research she’s doing for her new book. Maybe if I showed some interest in her work, it would begin to reverse this widening distance between us that I’m afraid to talk about. Yeah, that’s a reach, I know.

Life is imperfect. I take the leash down from the hook by the door and the dog explodes into frenzies of joy. Have I ever felt that much joy? If so, it hasn’t been for a very long time. Automatically I call out towards the home office at the back of the apartment to let Michele know we’re going out. Automatically she responds. We step out of the elevator, cross the lobby, walk into the sunshine and all of the warmth of spring opens up to surround us, the mild breezes tease his curious nose and the space between Michele now and Michele five years ago loses its edge. For now.


Published May 2016 as part of the “Two Stories Up!” Series (2016–2017). 
Two Stories Up! was an ongoing project that had Tammy Remington and AleXander Hirka (The Anomalous Duo) each composing a new (extremely short) short story every two months which was then sent via postal mail to interested readers.