When Maro leaves, I hold onto Polo until the Range Rover is out of site. He and I sit in the dirt, me holding his collar, petting the dust and straw out of his coat. He sits patiently next to me, enduring the petting, panting as he watches the car move slowly down the road, up over the ridge, disappearing at the crest of the hill. We stay where we are for a few minutes. He leans into my leg when the car is finally gone, resting in the shade of the fig trees. The sound of the buzzards swells around us again. In the moment, a nap feels appropriate.
One of the stray cats wanders out of the shade, and Polo lunges. I watch them chase one another through the trees, Polo eventually getting the cat between his teeth to playfully chew on her ears and tail. I can’t move yet, feeling suspended in the moment of strange bliss in this place. No suburban noise or buzz. No electric hum. No people. For the first time in a long time, I love the feeling that I am alone.
My legs start to itch from sitting in the straw, and I lift myself from the ground, dusting what straw and dirt I can from my backside. Polo releases his grip on the cat’s neck, letting her wander back into the shade with the other cats. He licks his chops, shaking his head in an effort to get that last bits of cat hair from his tongue, and then bounds in my direction.
We make our way back up the driveway, to the side entrance of the house.
I pull the curtain onto its peg by the doorway. With a hefty nudge the kitchen door swings open, and I prop a stone against the bottom to let a breeze into the house for a while. Polo plops himself at the doorframe, head resting on his front paw, staring disinterestedly into the house. I am still amazed that, in his 8 months of puppyhood, he has never walked into the house. That he instinctively knows it’s off limits.
I put a kettle on for tea, pull a chair close to the table, settling myself for an afternoon with a book from the Norman’s library: Run, by Ann Patchett. It feels right to be reading this book. It’s set back in Boston. Back where I feel like my own life is on pause. Separate but still existing. Back where things are important? It feels right that I found it nestled among the thousands of other books. Like it found me.
- July 2013