outwait outrun outwit


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This afternoon I encountered one of the helpers from the animal welfare centre where we had gotten Sam. Walking up the street on a crutch and son at her side, she recognised Sam from behind: "He's more brown than black now." We chatted. In January, she had suffered a minor stroke; now she was on leave from work. "Time to make some changes to my lifestyle," she said, smiling. I felt awful for feeling upset over the dog.


The dog's day mirrors my day. We sit indoors for long periods of time, consigned to certain spaces (his sofa, my desk or dining table), repeating the same actions (sleeping/eating/waiting). Silent and still, each in our own bubbles. Maybe a book moves me. Maybe he is sad when we get angry at him. Maybe our walk clears our heads, loosens our limbs from the memory of stasis. We wait for my husband to return, for change, for long summer days free from catastrophe. When the father-in-law improves. When the friend recovers.

Later, I think: we must be in purgatory. A purgatory for humans and dogs, assigned here as a gentle joke of the universe.

Somehow this thought is reassuring. Read a book. Plan dinner. Take a walk. Let the serene afternoon calm you. Nothing else exists beyond these rooms: no ghosts, no terrors, no real disturbances to rattle the heart.


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