A short walk

Picture this.

The woods at dusk. Tired birds sing overhead. Grey squirrels cross your path, as you bow to the magpies.

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret which has never been told.

Your heart still skips at the sight of a pair. It seldom comes, but still, in your heart, magic blooms. Sense and experience refute it, but you continue to believe.

The dog gets a scent, pulls at the chain lead. The extendable leash is as much use as a wet fart in a space suit, broken by the force of canine instinct.

You can relate to it.

Through the trees, the glimpses of gleaming horn. Sybaritic lips, curled into a smile.

If you do not meet his eyes, hold a breath until you can find a turning back to the street, you get another day.

These ironies shouldn’t escape you. They do, but they shouldn’t.

He would love to talk to you. You would learn a valuable lesson but the cost, well, you know what it would cost you.

Keep walking. His breath caresses the nape of your neck, but you tell yourself it is the breeze. Twilight is crueller than night, and here he is strongest.

Not as strong as you, though.

There is time to compose yourself, dry your eyes and take deep, steadying breaths.

She says you were gone a long time. You aspire to nonchalance and go through to the living room, the dog looks at you, wishes you’d let him loose. You ruffle his favourite spot between his ears and use the bathroom.

Where no one can see your tears.

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