Moving towards me, she plants her feet upon the floorboards with a shake of her hips, causing the tips of my fingers to itch out of excitement. The sweat that drips down her legs shows no sign of stopping; it flows between each one of her toes, leaving prints on the unvarnished wood that disappear seconds later in a flash of steam. Reaching out her arms, she strokes the neck of the expectant dog, and as her fingers massage his coat of fur, he leans into her the same as I do when I’m in need of her loving touch. Sniffing her scent, the dog licks his lips the same as me. Peering up at her, I can tell that he’s falling in love. I was the same, and I remember it as if it were yesterday, for when my eyes first fell upon her all those years ago, I was smitten before my heart even had a say of its own.
“Look at his paws,” she says, sticking out her lower lip.
As she inspects his burned flesh, I see tears beginning to form in the corners of her eyes, and when the first one trickles out before dripping down her cheek, she can’t help but whimper at the sight of his poor little wounds.
“I’m going to take him into the bathroom and wash him. Clean his paws and put some cream on them,” she tells me while slipping her arms between mine and lifting him against her chest. Turning to face me, the dog gives a look as if to say sorry, but I want to be with her now, and yet I don’t hold it against him at all. Giving his tail a gentle pull as he escapes my grasp, I nod at him, and he replies by sticking out that tongue of his.
“We don’t actually know he’s a stray, though, do we? For all we know, he could’ve been waiting outside the launderette while his owner was inside washing a piss-stained duvet.”
Flashing me the evols, she bares her teeth, and I instinctively take a step back.
“What kind of cunt would leave their dog outside in this heat? she snaps. “Tell me what kind of piece of shit would knowingly let an animal burn their paws on the pavement while they wait for their fucking washing to be done. If they’re still over there, I’ll break their stupid faces.”
From angel to devil in seconds flat.
“Alright, calm down,” I say, “there’s no need to swear in front of the dog.”
As we both look at him, he looks first to her and then to me as if trying to understand our words.
“And that’s another thing, we can’t keep referring to him as ‘dog’.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“Because it’s rude.”
“What do you suggest we call him then?”
Tilting her head the same as him, she narrows her eyes.
“Not sure. I’ll give it some thought while I clean him.”
“Nothing too weird,” I quip.
“That’s rich,” she replies, “coming from the man who writes the kind of things you do. Your head’s a pigpen.”
Walking into the kitchen, I fetch a fresh beer from the fridge.
“Do you want me to help?” I ask.
“No. It’ll be a good chance for him and me to bond. Perhaps you can do some of your writing, but none of the weird stuff, something pretty about me, perhaps?”
Sucking down the beer, I glance at my desk while nodding my head as she rubs her nose upon the dog’s giving him a sweet little Eskimo kiss as the sun looks on through the window.