Unmeaning Flattery

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Seeing Them Again

Monday 01/12/2009 12:56 PM

I'm running on a sidewalk in the neighborhood near my house. Close to home now, it's the end of my run and I'm almost sprinting. I feel good, in the zone. The air is cool, but the sun keeps me warm when I'm not in the shadows of the trees.

There is a street ahead and I'll have to cross it soon. Just a sidestreet, quiet, no stoplight or anything, and I am focused on the black asphalt like there is nothing else in the world. Inhale, take a step, exhale. Repeat. These moments of well-oiled movement seem less common in my runs these days.

I'm a few steps away from the street, preparing myself for the shift from concrete to macadam, and it's now that I raise my eyes, looking to see what's ahead. In the yard on the corner just beyond I see all of the dogs that have been important to me in my life. Each of them looks just as they do in my fondest memory of them. Argus as if he's just come in from watching the world from the safety of the porch. Chauncey like he's ready for a run. Shawn waiting patiently like he did when my school bus would drop me off from school. Sheriff is here also, and Higgins and others. In the back there is a large gray wolf.

They are all watching me and as my feet hit the blacktop they start barking. As if they're happy to see me. Like they can't wait for me to come to them. Their paws never leave the grass of the yard of the house on the corner. There is no fence. There are no chains.

I'm halfway across the street and now they are leaping, jumping, raising themselves in the air. Their barking is louder still.

I want to go to them. I want to roll in the grass and feel their tongues on my face, their paws on my chest. I want to be with them, but as I step off the street my feet keep running down the sidewalk next to them. Now they are running along side of me and I turn my head to look at them, barking and leaping. How confused they must be, not understanding why I'm not going to them. How confused I am not understanding why my feet are on the sidewalk, keeping me clear of my dogs.

I pass the far corner of the lot and they can't go with me. I'm looking back over my shoulder now and they are barking not with the high pitched yelps of anxiety but with deeper more confident sounds. They must be angry, angry that I've avoided them. I don't understand why I'm doing this.

At last I untwist my neck to look ahead again, to see what's coming next, but all I see is white. A blinding burst of light that leaks across my vision and I can't see anything at all, but I still hear my dogs barking behind me.

It is only then that I realize they aren't mad, they aren't frustrated, they aren't let down.

It's only then that I realize they are cheering me on.

File Under: Argus; Chauncey; Dream; Shawn; Sheriff; Writing Sample
Music: Cliff Martinez "Solaris Soundtrack"

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