Aaron in the blanket.

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The woman with the dog lived just a few blocks away from my Grandmother's house in Katowice. This was about a two hour ride away from where we lived. It was a rainy evening in november. We had scheduled the appointment a long time before. I think my father might have used the phone to do that. I do not quite remember. My father did not like driving in the rain. He could not focus properly. He really did not like the rain. He was afraid of sliding with us under some truck, or off the road. He eventually did, but that's a different story. The radio played a conversation between a man and the woman. I was fascinated by the way the voices were coming from two different speakers. I leaned towards the back window and I stared at the raindrops racing down the glass, while listening to the voices coming from the left and the right and the left and the right. My father was speaking too. My father spoke a lot back then. He made a case. He made a strong case every single time. For every single thing. He did not like driving in the rain, he said. He really hated it. We were almost there, he said. He was looking forward to seeing the dog. He was looking forward to seeing the dog. A lot. (No, I did not just repeat myself.) The building in which we were supposed to meet the dog was one of the grey four story kind with a flat roof and wide windows. The woman and the dog lived on the third floor, I think. We walked up the stairs, (there were no downstairs bells, I think,) we rang the bell and we immediately heard the dog. Then we heard the woman. Then we heard the lock. The door opened just a little bit, slowly... a black nose and the attached brown dog just squeezed themselves through of the opening. The dog did not even seem to be the one who's voice we just heard. This here was a big and friendly dog, an Irish Setter, his long red-brown fur, meticulously brushed, his ears almost a fashion statement straight from a coiffeur advertisement. The head was the one of a real hunting dog, the eyes looked almost too human. He sniffed my chest, my face, then he went on to sniff my parents' pants. We were guided inside. The woman has one of the finer looking ones. She wore some fancy sweater and a lot of makeup. The apartment was not very big. There were some items in it that made it look even smaller. There was a baby carriage, there were some strange looking toys. Did I see an empty play-bin? It smelled like diapers. We were sat down in the first room to the left. We were offered some tea. It was the same black tea we drank at home. Only much less sweet. The conversation about the trip and our coming here and the proximity of my grandmother soon moved on to the story of the dog. His name was Aaron. He was a male dog, two years old. He had acted as the baby of the family. Now with a human baby in the house however, it was time for Aaron to move on and out. He was just too much; the apartment was too small; the baby was too demanding; there was no time for the hunting dog in a house that smelled like diapers. We were told that the owners also had a car. They would take Aaron and the car to an airfield and then drive away. The dog would run after the car "like crazy". They would repeat this exercise several times. This was the reason for some of the roughness on Aaron's paws. Well, scars really. He would run on the pavement until his paws would bleed. He was a good dog. He has not always been a good dog though. He used to be a puppy. He would then bite through everything. He would bite through shoes and things, through wooden furniture, through things in general. He now did not do that anymore. He was a grown up dog. Now he would run after bitches. Even if they were two kilometers away. He was a dog after all. He was a pure bread dog. Aaron was a really good looking dog. He listened to the story as if it were the description of his mother's death. He clearly understood everything said. I looked at his paws. Poor dog. They were really very rough. Aaron was worth 6000 zloty. I think my father made this much in a month? We left shortly after. Hands were shaken. I shook Aaron's paw. The door was closed. We drove through the rain again. Not very far this time. My grandmother lived on a higher floor. I loved the carpet she had painted on the stairs. I thought it was such a great idea. She painted the flowers on the rim, the center of the carpet was red. There was a sponged texture all over. We had to turn what looked like a permanent key in the center of the door to make my grandmother open the door. She did. I never liked the smell of her house. It was the smell of all the old fox furs and hats and other creepy things she had amassed over her marriages. I stared at the doll placed in the center of her giant bed, while my father tried to make a great case for something related to the dog. She smiled and told him one of her smart sayings about hands, I think. Something like "did Mary give you hands?" or something like that. She liked to speak in codes sometimes. My father did not like what he heard. My mother stayed out of it. My grandmother hated her anyway. We did not drive back to see the dog. We drove back home for two hours or so. I was on the back seat, crying. I was hugging a blanket I had brought for the dog and I was crying. I was whispering the name of the dog into the blanket. And the blanket began to smell like a dog, almost, as my tears were mixing with the wool of the fabric. The world was about to collapse. We were so poor. We could not afford to save Aaron. We were not able to afford to save any dogs life. We would just die in this car, going through the rain. My father saying something about the dangers of driving. The voice from the speaker in the back being just one single man again. My mother not saying anything this time. Though I knew that she would soon explain how she had to keep her eyes on the road. To make sure nothing happens. We would never be able to afford anything. No dog, no toys, no... I think I probably fell asleep... So there I was. Added to the fear of not being loved, was the fear of not being able to have the opportunity to love. I would have healed those paws of that dog. I knew it then. And I would have loved him so much. And yet I was not allowed to.

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This page contains a single entry by Witold published on November 8, 1976 7:54 PM.

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