2023-01-29: the lovely stranger

after i moved away in my early twenties, i came to a city where i had no job and didn't know anyone. happily, it worked out: this is where i've made my life. for the first couple months i worked a series of low-paying jobs to make my share of the rent. telemarketing. grocery store meat department. deli. this was something of a, not an idyll, but a time in which my odd hours meant i was home all morning, or in the middle of the day. it gave me parcels of time. to explore, and to think.

my first dog was still something of a puppy then. i'd get up, figure out how much time i had. make a cup of tea. take him for long walks down the tree-lined streets. didn't have internet the first couple months. i'd come back and write; listen to radio channels on the tv.

i remember one day passing the grounds of a roman catholic church with an attached parish garden. stopping to talk with the priest. how we got talking about everything and nothing; the way he laughed as my dog hunted for rabbits in the lettuce.

one more memory: the day we passed the apartment blocks near the opposite arterial road. a cute girl stopped to pet my dog. her appearance vivid, all these years later. the half-held laugh, the expectant smile: she looked exactly like a former lover. the two of them, lover and stranger, unfairly intertwined.

more than twenty years since the intensity of that one night. more than fifteen since my dog and i met her double. strange how the mind selects what to hold on to: what i couldn't have, always remembered; and her echo, the lovely stranger, met midsummer with a puppy by my side.