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Welcome to my home

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Very Short Story

I'm moving tomorrow, and I'm not sure when my next post will come. I don't have internet access where I'm going, but I'm hoping that I'll still be able to get to a city at least once a week. As I am leaving my host family, friends, and everything I've come to know about Armenia, I thought it would be appropriate to write something on the value of saying goodbye. But, an essay or post just didn't cover it. So, I've decided to post a short story I've written on the subject. It is rare that I will post stories or poems that I write on the blog, so if you don't like this genre, I'm sorry. But, tough luck. It's all you get for now. In the famous words of my 92 year old grandmother, "Life's a bitch and then you die." I think that means deal with it. But, she's still kicking, so who knows. Anyways, here it is.
And My Dog

Sometimes the easiest way to say goodbye is when a person leaves too fast to actually say goodbye. Then, if you’re the type of person that would have to say, “I’m no good at goodbyes,” you don’t have to worry. You don’t have to worry if you never know what to say. You don’t have to worry if you know you always cry. You don’t have to worry if you don’t know whether to shake, hug, or something in between. You don’t even have to worry about saying goodbye only to realize that you’re going the same way a little longer. But I don’t think dogs know this.
My dog walks me to school every day. Every morning when I go through the gate, he is on my heel. And as we walk, he paws out a zig-zag pattern of excitement, a non-linear trail of sniffing here, peeing there, and charging after things that move—geese, cats, leaves, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes he will chase down other people walking on the street, but he’ll only do this if he knows I’m watching. He’ll draw a bead on them and then run them down with a chorus of snarls, barks, and snaps. And at some point, he’ll look back at me because he knows he is small; he’ll look back at me to say, “Did you see me being brave? I was brave right there.” And if no one had been hurt or offended, which is usually the case, I will continue walking, trying not to praise this kind of behavior, but secretly being proud of his devotion. And he will come tearing after me with his tongue hanging out and his tail beating furiously. And together we will continue on to school, where I will say goodbye at the door, and he will play outside my window until it’s time to go home.
Today I did not have school. Though I did leave on foot, and in the same direction, and at the same time; I did not have school. My dog did not know this until we stopped just short of the final hill. Here I would wait for the bus, and my dog would sniff the others’ bags on the ground as they waited patiently too, returning to me every so often for a pat down. When the bus finally arrived, I waited until my dog was away at a bag, and slipped into the bus, not knowing how to tell him, “This time I won’t be back.” When my dog returned to where I had once been, his nose hit the dirt and he sniffed his way to the door. I had made it to the back of the bus, and though his two front paws were on the bottom steps, his scanning eyes couldn’t see me through the crowd. The doors closed, the bus pulled away, and he sat in the dirt. And as I was thinking, “It was probably for the best,” my neighbor tapped me on the knee and pointed out the back window over my shoulder. And there was my dog, running as hard as he could, trying to keep up with the bus. And he did for a while. He ran hard for about three fourths of a kilometer. And I watched him. I watched him until the bus rounded a curve. And then he was gone.

7 comments:

Alli said...

Your story brings tears to my eyes, Scott. Thanks for sharing it.

I too am at a transition period, moving from Vermont to St. Petersburg. While I'm really ready to be done with Vermont, I hate the part where I have to bid farewell to the people I've grown close to.

Thanks for the info about PC placements. Yeah, Russia's not winning itself any fans in this war, especially not in Georgia. I have a Georgian friend who already hated Russians; now he's using this war to say "See? I told you they're all horrible." Of course, I think Russia's acted completely inappropriately, but I'm still not quite ready to condemn every last one of them.

I did hear about Dan's new job. I'm excited for him and interested to hear how it turns out. He's going to be writing IEPs in his sleep by the end of this year.

Put me down for two months until he's invited to leave. =)

Okay, I don't even know if you'll get to read this before you head to internet-less land, but good luck! I'll keep checking in on ya.

Allison

Dad said...

Scott,
Very topical and cutting. I think it says something that in your story about goodbyes, you never use the dog's name. As if that makes it easier somehow to slip away.

As the chapter closes on your first Armenian experience, just reflect for a minute that all those people you are leaving now and have built up a bank of memories for, you did not even know 2.5 months ago. So, who knows what good experiences await your next chapter of the tale. Bon chance, Scott.

Dad

mom said...

scott, you broke my heart with this story. i think alex should come to live in iowa with jack! love, mom

Maggie said...

Scott,
I have to leave my dog today, too, but only for a week and that's hard enough. I can't imagine how hard it is to leave everything where you've been, and then, on top of that, have to leave your dog. Maybe Alex should come live with Teddy and me, just until you get back.

maggie

Gymnfreak said...

i hope you're happy that i got a google account so i could directly comment on your blog scottness lmao
but your blogs are awesome and this one was a doozy! that being said....
it may just be the way you write but in the words of a previous "commenter" states, this story, does in fact, bring tears to my eyes as well. i'm also looking forward to future blogs about armenia! and be careful over there, i realize your approximate location in relation to some conflict...

i'll leave you with that lol

see ya round!
Jay

Dan said...

I too welled up a bit at your latest entry. This year has been a difficult/transitional one for me, and I'm sure that it has been far more difficult/transitional for you. I hope that you can make it back to a computer at least once in a while, because I would love to (at least) get to read a blog entry now and again.

Cassie said...

your words got me all sniffly, and i like it. looks like you've got a bunch of softies reading your blog, though, huh?

i'm excited to read this again in a month or so, when i finally stop being too lazy and cheap to do internet again.

be well
cassie