Sunday, June 12, 2005

It is nearly dark and I am walking my dog and we are walking "the short block" (which is actually about 6 blocks) as I am unwilling to be walking at all tonight and he is desperate to be walking at all tonight and this is our compromise. We approach the halfway mark and he is straining because there is a small child across the street on a bike he'd like to go sniff and she calls over to me, the sort of trusting bold sort of thing that I so like in a small child but which makes me cringe in a world that sometimes feels so full of threats, "Can I pet your dog?" and of course the answer is yes, and I wave at her to come on over, but I have no voice to say yes, have not had a voice since eight this morning, and she squints funny at me and says she can't cross the street, can we come over? And we walk over to her on her bike with the white training wheels and she has pigtails and a chubby sort of face and some darker areas under her eyes and no helmet it occurs to me that it is after nine pm and she is by herself and this is a nice neighborhood and I don't have any good reason to worry and restrain the urge to ask her if her mommy knows she is out because sometimes the questions well meant are themselves scary so I have Joey sit and she asks his name and I whisper Joey. And she asks why I am whispering and I motion at my throat and tell her I have no voice because I am sick and so she very confidingly leans in towards me and says "I'm a dog whisperer" and I think, "Did she say dog whisperer" but I let it go because I can't hold a decent conversation with my throat in its current state. So she pets him and he jumps up and licks her on the face and I whisper "sorry" and she says "that's ok, I like dogs, I'm a dog whisperer" and I say "Well good, and we have to go now. Have a good night" and I start to walk him back across the street, and she gets back on her bicycle and slowly starts to peddle along, and I look back at her wondering which house she lives in, and whether I should have walked her home noting which have garages still open and I feel better when I see one she is peddling towards, and she yells out to me "thanks for letting me pet your dog" as if this is the biggest favor on earth, and I want to yell back to her "thanks for talking to me and petting my dog" because this is the biggest favor on earth but instead I just whisper/shout "Sure" and wave vigorously, and as I turn to go down a different street she has turned her bike around again and is peddling back away from us and I still don't know if she really said dog whisperer.

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