This is Emilio, our neighbor.
I wish I could say he’s Roxy’s friend, but unfortunately, he doesn’t want anything to do with her.
He barks loudly, and even growls, when she tries to engage him with a friendly woof.
Every morning she saunters out to the balcony, trying to catch a glimpse of Emilio.
If he’s there, she wags her tail energetically and her ears perk up.
And if he’s not there, she spends most of her morning in a slump, attempting to chase away her sadness sunbathing.
I’ve counseled Roxy on the importance of maintaining a positive attitude even when Emilio snubs her.
Life is too short to dwell on dogs that don’t value you, or give you the importance you deserve, I tell her.
Nevertheless, Roxy’s intent on not listening.
Relentlessly, she sits on the balcony, standing watch until Emilio comes out.
Most days, he treats her with indifference and doesn’t acknowledge she’s there.
Other times, he snarls and turns his head away.
Roxy, undaunted by his apathy, looks his way wistfully, hoping he’ll acknowledge she’s alive.
This morning, while I sat on the balcony drinking my coffee and admiring the ocean view, I witnessed another episode of the Roxy-Emilio saga.
I couldn’t help but liken Roxy’s situation to that of the many women who are hell-bent on gaining the attention of a man who’s not interested.
As Roxy sat by the table, waiting for Emilio to look her way, I thought how it resembled women who sit by the phone, waiting for a phone call that never comes.
I wanted to feel compassion for Roxy’s plight, but instead I felt frustration.
I can’t but wonder what drives her to sit in the same spot, day after day, waiting, hoping, that Emilio will give her the time of day.
On the other hand, Emilio, the little cretin, struts around his balcony like a peacock spreading his tail.
The little runt. Who does he think he is?
I look at Roxy and say, “Go inside. Go.”
Then, like a crazy woman, I turn to Emilio and whisper, “Who do you think you are, you little Terrier with a Napoleon complex? Roxy’s to good for you. You hear me? Just you wait. What goes around, comes around. Go inside!”
Emilio reacts by dismissing me with a swish of his tail.
But it doesn’t matter.
I’ve said my piece.
As I enter the apartment, I find Roxy sitting under the dining room table, looking quite depressed.
She reminds me of women I’ve known; women who’ve reacted in the same way when a man hasn’t shown them attention.
She reminds me of a dear friend who went on a hunger strike when the guy she slept with on a first date never called.
She reminds me of a neighbor who cried her eyes out and refused to leave her room because an ex-boyfriend didn’t want to get back together.
Yet that’s what some sisters do.
They refuse to move on, even when the men they’re interested in couldn’t give a rat’s ass about them.
They go on stake outs, follow the man’s every move, and risk being charged with stalking or harassment.
Why aren’t we able to accept a man’s not interested?
Why can’t we embrace, that sometimes, it’s not meant to be?
Why do we torture ourselves, embarrass ourselves, and make ourselves vulnerable to hurt and pain?
Like Roxy, we venture out, hoping and wishing the object of our affection will look our way.
And like Roxy, when met with defeat, we curl up in a ball and bask in our depression.
Which leads me to ask, “Is a man worth all this anguish?”
Are we incapable of realizing that it it doesn’t take a man to be happy?
That we have the power to make ourselves happy?
That we’re hurt only because we allow it?
That in the process of watching a closed door, we don’t see an open window?
I pick Roxy up, pat her head, and say, “There are more dogs in the beach. Forget about Emilio and remember you’re Roxy Lee.”
She stares at me intently and nudges her leash with her snout.
I take this as a sign that she’s ready to put herself out there again.