It happened the way things always happen, when no one was expecting anything to happen, while everyone was looking the other way. Everyone except Bachelador that is. Bachelador never looked the other way. And he always expected something to happen. So when the little green Labrador bounded into view Bachelador saw him immediately. And being a courteous fellow, Bachelador stood up, brushed the crumbs off his lap (for he had been eating a pear and apricot scone,) and offered this greeting, “Greetings My Green and Furry Friend, welcome to my kingdom!” Bachelador, it must be noted, had no kingdom. But this did not stop him from welcoming people and Labradors to it.
The little green Labrador was very pleased by this welcoming party of one, and he expressed his pleasure by wagging his tail very vigorously while jumping up to place his two front paws on Bachelador’s two front shoulders. For a brief moment they gazed into each other’s eyes and in that brief moment both saw this was not the first time they were meeting– no— they knew each other from a bodiless time. A time before these eyes, these paws, these shoulders.
For the moment Bachelador was struck speechless. On only one prior occasion in his short life had speechlessness struck him before. That was when he had tasted a mango for the first time. The unfamiliar sunburst of sweetness on his tongue pulled him into the depths of a complex state of wordless wonder. Then that moment, like all moments, passed. As this one did too.
“Why have you come here?” Bachelador asked, and his voice was not challenging, only very soft and full of amazement. It was the kind of voice one might use to address a visiting unicorn or an ancestor several centuries dead. By way of answer, the little green Labrador licked his nose. Bachelador sneezed, and three members of his family who had, until then, been looking the other way, simultaneously looked in his direction, and simultaneously uttered the words, “Bless you.” None of them, Bachelador soon realized, could see the little green Labrador, for almost immediately, all three of them turned to look the other way again.
Bachelador felt an old loneliness settle on his brow like a crown of dried thistles. The loneliness of one who never looks the other way. But then he realized he was no longer alone. The little green Labrador was with him.
February 15th, 2023 at 5:10 pm
Bachelador and the little green labrador have both captured my heart. They will stay with me as real loving examples of how to be in the world.