“OMG, it’s raining again.”
“Aussie, it hasn’t rained in a long time. We need rain.”
“We need dog walks worse.”
“Not in the rain.”
“There you go again, being old!”
“Aussie, I take you out every single day.”
“Not in the rain, you don’t! Not in snowstorms! Not to mention all the other times.”
“What other times, Aussie?”
“You know how embarrassing it is to walk with you? You breathe hard!”
“We went up a steep hill yesterday!”
“You don’t walk, you pant. You stop a million times—”
“Not a million times!”
“–while behind us jog a cute black Lab with a YOUNG woman. They go go go while we do slow slow slowI. BORING!”
“Aussie, no one stopped you from running with the Lab, you’re usually not on leash. I think you were a little scared of him.”
“Moi? I stay with you on purpose to make sure you don’t drop dead. Let me tell you, it’s embarrassing to be with an old person.”
“Aussie, it was really steep.”
“I didn’t see it bothering her!”
“She was at least 30 years younger than I am.”
“Why, oh why, do I have to waste my youth, my one precious youth, on being with somebody old!”
I look at my face while on Zoom this morning. This isn’t my pasty early-morning look with glasses and sleepy eyes—Aussie hates that, tells me not to show up till I get things more together. So I did the best I could, combed my hair, put in the contact lens, a little make-up, tried to smile. But all the cheer in the world doesn’t hide the lines, the eternal mole on the side, shadows under the eyes, grooves and creases.
In the past I wanted to look like my mother as I got older. I used to look like her a lot as a young girl, then my face seemed to go its own way, but I always hoped that as I got older our two faces would reconcile. Why? Because to this day she has very fine, upstanding cheek bones, naturally arched, disciplined eyebrows, and till about 5 years ago, a debutante’s pale, silky skin.
Not me. Don’t have the bone structure, the delicate, narrow chin, the angled profile. Let’s say that, in my case, things are more spread out. So I gave up, decided to look like myself.
Aussie’s comment: “That’s nothing to smile about!”
Sometimes my big question is: Who am I? I suspect the rest of the world knows because it’s right there in the open, I’m the only one who still gets confused about it. And please, spiritual people, don’t tell me I’m nothing because I’ll remind you that I’m nothing in my own way.
“I’ve decided to put myself up for adoption.”
“Don’t do that, Aussie.”
“Here’s the ad: If you take three-hour walks and half a dozen car trips a day, then do I have a great dog for you! Sleek—”
“—and loving, gentle, docile, and all-around adorable pooch. Email your applications,; males and retirees need not apply, also anybody who shoots guns. I require very little: cohoe salmon in the morning, a little fillet in the evening, maybe some roast chicken, a bunch of buffalo treats in the middle. I’m a STEAL!”
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