Carrying him like a babe in arms, he licks my chin, and the stench of manky fish on his breath is only made bearable by the stink of beer. Still, he seems happy enough, and even though his tail is pressed firmly against my hands, I feel him excitedly trying to wag it as I take a step inside. Before I’m through the door, I turn and look up and down the street. Part of me wishes to remain and be around the chatter and din of those the same as me, and yet I know that if I were to approach them, my only wish would be to leave. The feeling of belonging neither here nor there is the only constant in my life. Everything else changes, but this, for one reason or another, remains the same. Moving my face away from the searching lick of his tongue, I linger for a moment eyeing those standing outside the launderette. They smoke and laugh so freely, and I inwardly curse them for being so at ease and yet I know that underneath their skin, they’re as lost as me. They all are. Glancing down at the dog, he stares at me while panting. He’s not just panting though, he’s grinning, and as he tries wagging his tail again, my sorrow subsides enough to see how beautiful a thing life can still be. Most of the time it’s a crock of shit, and it feels like I’m being flushed down the toilet along with all the turds on earth, and yet here in my arms is a little slice of gold they couldn’t get hold of. Meeko will kill me for bringing him in, I know, yet surely not even she can deny the magic of this one’s smile. Perhaps I’ll treat her to a new hat to make up for it? Or I’ll write her a poem? She always seems to enjoy my poetry, which is strange, considering she usually thinks everything I write is either too odd or obscure. But then again, I guess my poems are born from my love of her, and the genuine side of my writing is what she finds satisfying, not the weird shit, as she puts it. Strengthening my grip on the boy, I take in a deep breath and prepare to climb the stairs to the apartment.