TWO and I trudged toward the dog park. Both of us quiet and resentful, but for different reasons. She was irritated that she’d had to leave the warmth of the house to walk the dogs again. I was resentful for that too, but as a grown-up, the boundaries–and irrationality–of my resentfulness covered much larger grounds. I was mostly mad that I’d adopted a puppy who’d seemed to make it his mission to extricate me from my limbs. I was also mad because I’d spent so much time with the puppy that I hadn’t been able to rehearse for the show as much as I’d wanted to, and was starting to feel nervous. And because of that I was spending every quiet moment holed up in my room running lines, so my house looked like the puppy was doing the cleaning. And the laundry.
TWO: Could you tell me the lollipop story? Puleeeeeeeease?
I paused. Smiled.
ME: You like the lollipop story?
TWO: It’s one of my favorites.
ME: One day I was in film class. And I was in college, so I was twenty. And I loved candy, so I always had some with me. This day I had a bouquet of Tootsie Pops–
TWO: And what kinds were they?
ME: Well, I started out with all of the flavors, but by the end I only had three left. One chocolate and two orange.
TWO: And you don’t like orange lollipops.
ME: Of course I don’t. Who likes orange lollipops? They’re the worst!
TWO: And then Daddy–
ME: He wasn’t Daddy yet. He was a guy I’d never met before. And he leaned over the back of the seat next to mine and said, “Hey–let me get one of those.”
ME: So I looked from him to my lollipops and back to him. He was kinda cute, so I gave him my last chocolate.
TWO: That was nice of you.
ME: It was, wasn’t it?
TWO: But he didn’t want it.
ME: Nope. He handed it back and said, ‘Chocolate tootsie pops su– stink.’
TWO: And he made you laugh.
ME: Yes, he did. A lot.
TWO: And then he asked you to marry him?
ME: Noooooooo… Then we became friends. And then very good friends. And then he became my boyfriend. And then–
TWO: He asked you to marry him.
ME: Yes. At the park by Nanny’s house.
We walked in silence until we reached the entrance of the dog grounds. TWO unleashed Maggie and I wrestled the puppy to the ground and removed his leash before he removed my fingers. TWO grabbed my hand as I stood up.
TWO: And now you’re living your happily ever after?
I picked her up and kissed her cheek. We watched the dogs chase each other around the field.
ME: Yes. I sure am.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
©2013 CEK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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