Unless specified otherwise, text on this blog is copyright © by Christine Young.

My Belief

"The value of humanity can be found in the way we proceed through life; the way we go or do not go to war; the way we hate or love our neighbor; the way we abuse or cherish our children, and, most importantly, the way we disregard or value nature and all the beautiful creatures sharing this planet with us. Respect and appreciation of nature and of all life itself is the foundation upon which a kind heart stands."

"Happiness is important. When you're happy your soul's thirst for light is quenched. But sadness is also important, as it allows for down time and contemplation, and, without sadness, how could we recognize happiness."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Date

John
November13th

Katie and I had dinner in a quiet restaurant and afterward walked through Washington Square Park. I took a deep breath in of the cool, fresh air and said, “I feel as though I belong here. I’m not much of a suburbanite. Someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll have a small studio apartment here.”

“You’d live in the city?”

“Of course; in a heart-beat!” I said.

“I feel very out of place in the city. I don’t know why. It’s hard to explain.”

“I hope you’re having a good time.”

“Oh yes. I’m having a great time with you. But I don’t think I could have a steady diet of this place. It depresses me a little. Look at that man on the bench.”

I looked over and saw the man she was talking about, dressed in filthy clothes lying on a bench; an old torn blanket over him for warmth. I saw another poor soul staggering around with a brown bagged beverage having an argument with himself.

“You see.” Katie said, nodding her head in his direction. “That’s what I’m talking about. I couldn’t look at that on a regular basis. It depresses me.”

“That’s because you’re not used to it. Besides they're just people like you and me who have fallen on some hard times. And there are shelters they can go to for warmth and for help. A lot of them don’t want to. They’d rather live on the streets. I’ve been traipsing around Manhattan for most of my life. I don’t even notice things like that anymore.”

“But, how could you not notice it?”

“OK, I notice it, but I don’t dwell on it—look over there for instance…” I pointed out the young couple walking their dog, “…normal everyday people. Don’t focus on the negative. Look at what’s great about this place. It’s the greatest city in the world.”

“You’re right.” Katie changed the subject. “Nice retriever!”

“You like dogs?”

“Oh yes, though I don’t have one now. My landlord has a cat named Cleo. She’s a great cat and sometimes sleeps with me. But I’ve always had dogs when I was growing up. I love them.”

“I think I just adopted one.”

“O really! What’s his name? I’d love to see him.”

“I’m calling him Benji. He was a stray I kept seeing in front of my apartment and I finally took him in. I was a little drunk at the time. I still can’t believe I got him upstairs without my landlords hearing. He’s quiet, too. He didn’t bark; just licked me in the face when he wanted me out of bed.”


Katie became very interested in my story of the little dog. I knew she must love animals, which was a point in her favor.

"What kind of dog is he?"

“Who knows…some kind of mix…looks like a terrier?” I replied.

“Do you think he belongs to someone in your neighborhood?”

“I don’t know—maybe so, but not anymore. He’s mine now. We’ve already bonded.”

I took Katie’s hand.  She looked up at me and smiled, "That's what happens when you leave your dog loose; a more deserving person finds him."

We had a great time in the city. When we got back home we stopped in at the bar where we had first met. There was no one there except the bartender, but you could tell there had been some goings on. The smell of beer was so strong that I nearly gagged. I felt a bit claustrophobic too after spending most of the evening in the park, and we really should have called it a night. I didn’t want the night to end though and I think Katie felt the same. Nothing could wipe the smile off my face. I felt like a puppy that was finally taken home to a safe, warm house. No, not at all like a puppy, more like an adult dog, like my new dog, who had been left to fend for himself more times than he could count, by various owners who had tried and failed to live with him; a dog who had been misunderstood and at times abused. This is the dog I felt like. If I had a tail it would be wagging.

2 comments:

  1. God, I felt how irritated he was when she thought it was odd he met the woman in a bar. I know he has wanted to tell his mother that for a while, and when he finally does, she wishes he had met her in church or in a library lol. You know what I also like about the way you write John's character? You keep it consistent. He is the same person in the heart throughout. Kind of like when you meet someone for the first time and you get an idea of what kind of person they are. I can understand his actions in every situation because of this. It make it easy for the reader to really get to know the character. Does that make sense?

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  2. Yes. It makes a lot of sense. You are very perceptive.

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