Just a lazy Sunday afternoon, really?


It never seizes to amaze me how much we humans can learn simply by observing; by taking in our surroundings and more importantly, the dynamics that take place in them.

Today, after a week of captivity (or at least it feels this way), I finally left the house. I thought it was due time for Roxy, the Significant Other, and I to hit the dog park. I figured that after our long sabbatical, our furry friends and their humans would long have forgotten our “reputation.”

So off we went. Me, wobbling side to side but finally walking a bit, the Significant Other dutifully carrying my crutches should the need arise, and Roxy tugging on her leash, eager for the opportunity to socialize.

Sadly, there weren’t any furry friends in attendance at the dog park. I glanced at the position of the sun and concluded we had a short wait before we were joined by other visitors.

After a short while, an elderly man and his pup were seen on the horizon. Roxy spotted them easily. Eagerly wagging her tail, she awaited their arrival. I quickly reminded her that she was being given an opportunity to redeem herself; tabula rasa and what not.

The man and his dog came closer and closer. I could see Roxy starting to pant. Deciding it was a good idea that she play freely, I naively took her leash off. I briefed the Significant Other on how he should intercept our little Miss the second she showed any sign of returning to her wicked ways.

Roxy avidly greeted her new friend with a wag of her tail. However, he didn’t seem too interested in her comely appearance. Roxy, not one to admit defeat, danced around him enthusiastically. Yet, this wasn’t enough to illicit a response from the other canine.

Roxy did not give up. She barked, wagged her tail even faster, lifted a paw in greeting, and even tried to kiss him. Nada. Zilch. Nix. Our new furry friend seemed oblivious to little Roxy’s charms.

I turned to grab my camera but stopped midway when I heard an ominous growl. In less than 2.1 seconds, the transformation was complete. Roxy, teeth barred and claws at the ready, had metamorphosed into mini Cujo.

The man, in shock at what he was witnessing, tried to pull his dog away. Roxy wouldn’t have it. She circled both of them like a turbulent tornado intent on destroying whatever lay in its path.

The Significant Other, completely taken aback by Roxy’s reaction, stood rooted to the spot even while I screamed at him to take action. By this time, the old man spun around in circles and the small dog flew through the air like a super hero.

Roxy, intent on leaving no prisoners behind, circled voraciously. And then, the worst imaginable thing happened–the little dog got loose. He ran toward the cemetery which lay a hundred yards in front of us. Roxy took off in pursuit and the old man followed.

In the meantime, the Significant Other remained frozen in the same spot. Fortunately, my piercing screams brought him out of his catatonic state and allowed him to join the mad race. Horrified, I saw the other dog crawl under a hole in the fence and head into the cemetery. Cursing, panting, and groaning ensued.

A few minutes later, the Significant Other returned with our wayward friend. Roxy averted my gaze as I reprimanded her but then lifted her snout as if to say, “It wasn’t my fault.” My sharp, “Don’t even go there!” indicated I was not pleased with her actions. Just then, the Significant Other returned from helping the man capture his dog.

“Just a quiet, relaxing afternoon in the dog park, you said. I don’t get paid enough to do this job.”

“You don’t get paid at all.”

“And how would you classify the elevated spurts of blood pressure, tachycardia, and shortness of breath?”

“Marginal benefits to living with two colorful butterflies.”

“Don’t you mean, two lethal black widows?”

Chuckling, we turned to leave. We hadn’t taken but a few steps when we saw another dog and his human approaching. The breath caught in our throats.

“This time, you do the running and I do the screaming,” said the Significant Other.

To be continued…

Roxy says, "It was all him."
Roxy says, “It was all him.”
After so much action, there's nothing left to do but rest.
After so much action, there’s nothing left to do but rest.
Roxy admits, "Okay, I may have been partly to blame."
Roxy admits, “Okay, I may have been partly to blame.”

Can we stop here to rest?


It seemed like a good idea at the time.

As Roxy and I peered out the living room window, the sun beckoned us to go outside.
Slowly inching our way down three flights of stairs, we made it outdoors.
Yet ten minutes later, the dog park no where in sight, I wondered why I had let myself be seduced by the bright, golden sun.

The sweat on my brow indicated it wouldn’t be long before my knee gave out. Desperately searching for a bench, I spotted one across the fence. Realizing it would only take a few more steps, I soldiered on.

As I approached the entrance, I realized my fatigue had blinded me to the fact that the bench rested in one of the corners of the local cemetery. As I tentatively took a step, Roxy looked up at me as is to ask, dare we? I nodded my head and we quietly entered this place of rest.

A place of rest–that’s what nana called the cemetery.

“It’s a place where the bodies of the deceased come to rest, Bella.”

“Nonsense, mamá,” my devout Spanish Catholic mother had replied. “Don’t confuse la niña, madre. It’s a place where people who once lived come so they can return to the dust they once were, Bella.”

Smiling, I realized that even then, I had liked nana’s explanation more.

Today, more than ever, it appeared nana had been right.

As Roxy and I sat on the bright, green bench, we took in our surroundings. The cemetery was devoid of any visitors. Looking around, I noticed there were graves that were decorated with flowers, plants, and even stuffed animals. Others were adorned with rosaries and religious icons.

And one grave was completely bare; devoid of any memento or decoration.

I wondered if the grave was bare because family members of the deceased had also passed away. Had they moved away to a faraway land making it impossible for them to visit the grave? I felt a great sadness wash over me. Many years ago, when we had moved from the Caribbean, we too had left nana’s remains behind.

Was her grave as bare as this one that only had a tombstone? I breathed a sigh of relief as I remembered that my mother sent a friend money every month so she would bring fresh flowers to nana’s grave.

Closing my eyes, I prayed silently.
I quickly became aware of how turning off one sense seemed to heighten all the others.

I felt the wind ruffle my hair.
I smelled the tasty aroma of someone’s barbecue as it wafted over the fence.
And I heard sounds. Many sounds.
Birds chirping, children playing, a car’s faulty exhaust, someone striking a can with a stick.

I inhaled deeply and slowly exhaled. I felt at peace. Sitting by my side, Roxy held up her snout to the sun. We basked in the sunshine a little while longer, not wanting to leave the warm bench that had cradled us for the past hour.

As we turned to leave, I looked back at the empty grave.
Suddenly I wished that someone, faraway, had stopped to rest by the tree that stood next to nana’s grave.

The thought comforted me as Roxy and I made our way home.

Where did you last stop to rest?

Note: Dear Readers, I wrote this post last weekend before I underwent surgery. I have since had my meniscus repaired and am presently on the mend. Thank you for all your tweets and emails. I greatly appreciate it!