Petting Dudley

He looks for eye contact to come over, and I know it’s time to put aside whatever occupies my hands, to lean forward and to be with him.

He stands, and for a minute or two, we share a pure joy together. The rough friction of my fingertips against his hind body; he releases a thousand tensions as my hands do the same, lost in his thick and ever-shedding fur.

Then a slow abatement begins. Dudley sits. He looks at me; I touch his head. His eyes widen just enough to suggest a question, the beginning of a concern. I touch his head more; I rub his ears. I draw the line that climbs his long snout to the small bump that gives a true summit to his head.

His eyes widen just a little more now. We remain together: happy, comfortable. But we share the emerging concern, a recurring sadness. I move my thumb around his ear, I ground my palm against his strong neck. We think of a thousand things we long for and a thousand things we fear while we breathe the quiet breath of a sadness understood.

I press firmly against him, and slowly I release.

Notes mentioning this note