Gertrude (March 2020, Week 1 Day 4)
“Gertrude, leave it! Leave it. Ugh – I mean it!” Bryant tugged at the leash while trying to ignore how much weaker he was than the huge dog at the other end of it. They had been at a stand-still for minutes and he didn’t want to see what might happen if Gertrude had her way.
Gertrude, in all her shaggy glory, clearly had no interest or intention in “leaving” anything. She strained at her harness, four feet on the ground and shoulders well in front of them, teeth clenched around…something. Bryant didn’t know what it was and hoped he wouldn’t have to.
“Come on girl, leave it.” He had treats in his pocket that might have at least convinced her to stop pulling if he could have risked taking one of his hands off the leash to retrieve them.
“Yeah, cute.” Bryant kept his eyes on Gertrude. “Cute and stubborn.”
“But mostly cute.”
The woman attached to the voice moved into Bryant’s line of site. She wasn’t someone he knew so, with all the time he spent in the neighborhood with Gertrude, he decided she must be visiting someone. There wasn’t much about her that fit, either. She was taller than was comfortable. He imagined she might be a full head taller than him, though that was hard to gauge at the moment since he was standing at an angle while trying to wrangle Gertrude. She was also wearing a full length fur coat that appeared to have been made from actual animals. Whoever she was visiting must not have been in the area for very long. It usually only took a few months for people to at least minimize their conspicuous consumption of animals and their byproducts lest they be fully ostracised from the community.
Despite her incongruities Bryant found himself smiling at her and saying “yeah, the cute is why she’s still here.”
“Can I pet her?”
Bryant’s brows flew to his forehead, the right one higher than the left of its own accord. “Um, she’s a little busy right now.”
“But you want her to leave whatever it is she has, right? I mean, that’s what you were saying to her, right?”
“Yes.” Bryant took a step back and gave the leash another mighty tug. “I don’t seem to get to have what I want today.”
The woman gathered her fur around her with one hand and reached her palm out to Gertrude with the other. “Sweet girl, come say hello?”
The grass beneath Bryant was damp and soft and cushioned his fall as Gertrude dropped her hold on whatever it was and turned to sniff and lick the woman’s proffered hand. Gertrude’s tail was damp and soft and smelled the way only a wet dog can while it brushed to and fro across Bryant’s face as she wagged her approval of the woman. Bryant failed at ignoring the feelings of jealousy that washed over him in two directions – the woman was far more interested in a dog than she’d ever be in him, and his dog had chosen the woman instead of him.