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Not So Friendly

waiting for their walk

Waiting patiently for walkies

It’s dark out. Not late, but dark. Some of the street lamps are out and I feel uneasy as I head down the block, but the dogs need to do their business and they are happy as they sniff about. I shuffle after them in second-hand sweatpants, wool hiking socks, crocs, and one of my husband’s dog hair infused fleeces. I haven’t brushed or even washed my hair in days. I push my glasses back up my nose and stare out at empty space while the dogs snuffle something in the grass. There is a man walking down the sidewalk from the other direction. He is carrying a paper plate of food. It looks like rice and something else. I think, maybe the dogs will poop here and then we can go home, up the stairs, curl up on the sofa with a bowl of salted caramel ice cream, a plate of cheese and crackers, and the latest episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. I just want to bury my head in the sand.

There are quick movements at the end of the leashes and I realize the dogs are eating something. The man with the plate of food stops in front of us and says something about the dogs eating and as I try to reel them in, away from whatever offal it is they are stuffing down their doggy throats I say, “Yeah, I know. It’s disgusting. I just hope it’s not poop.” I gain control of them, manage to pull them away from their prize. The man laughs and says, “No, no. I asked if they are allowed to eat people food.” He holds out his plate of rice and what looks like chicken.

He is nice looking. Broad shouldered, blond, mid-thirties. He smiles but the smile is not sincere. It is the smile of a single man who sees a girl walking alone and thinks she might be easy. There is a lilt in his voice I do not like. It is patronizing and it makes my hackles go up. I am not alone. Valentine lunges at the man’s legs, barking, growling, teeth bared. He takes a step away and I let her leash go long.

“Nope. They don’t eat people food. In fact, they aren’t very friendly.” I practically have to yell over the cacophony of barking, because now the wiener dog is barking too, the force of his voice lifting his feet off the pavement in little wiener dog hops.

The man smiles. “What about you?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Are you friendly?”

I pause for a moment. Really? I’m dressed like a homeless lady and my dogs are trying to kill you. How desperate does a guy have to be? “Not so much.”

Two days later I’m walking the dogs again, this time on the other side of the street. Someone calls out to me. “Hey neighbor! How are you!” I look up at the man addressing me. My mind is blank. He smiles and points to himself. “I’m Roger. We met the other night. I wanted to feed your dogs.”

It all comes back to me. “Oh. Right.”

“What are you up to? Want to hang out?”

“Not even a little.”

“Alright. I get the hint.” He looks angry when he walks away. What else was I supposed to say?

This is my first post for Just Write, an exercise in writing begun by Heather of the EOWant to join?