This is the Life of a Redhead



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scenes on Tenth

The large dog longs for exercise. It whines outside CrossFit, obedient enough not to jump on the glass and flash its genitals at the early birds who train inside. The glass is slightly tinted and the work out remains a mystery. From my post at the bus stop across the street, I see the dog stand on all fours and cry and then sit on its rump and cry louder. It’s a Great Dane, but not really, not quite. It black spots cover its snout and I cannot see its eyes. There’s only the high squeals that beg for attention and capture mine, which is all the way across the four lane two-way street.
            A nice black car with the front windows roll down slows to a stop and the dog is no longer visible. The sounds shift to the radio playing at high volume inside the car, a female pop-star’s top 40 lyrics fleeing into the open air. Inside a large black man with a grey beard and a bald head shifts his body to the music. He looks like he is stuffed in his seat, and I see that he does not have enough room to wiggle, unlike me who can get down and dirty in a car but only when the windows are rolled and a vaguely Baltic-sounding track emits from my iPod. Because of his restriction, he moves his hands to trace the octaves of the singer. They start low and climb up an invisible mountain, lingering in mid-air for split seconds, moving higher and higher until they reach the peak. His hand splays and his whole body rumbles as he cries the words out of tune. This giant man’s pitch matches the dog that is still whining behind him, and as the music drops and the man catches the tonal shift a second too late, the dog and the man sing in harmony.
            The light turns green and the black car cruises down the street. The large dog is now jumps to its feet and dances about excitedly. There’s a man in a dark gray shirt, darker on his chest and under his pits, petting the dog on its black snout, but also sort of slapping it, a mix of affection and discipline. Promptly, the dog sits back down, and he is quiet and attentive. For a moment the man hesitates, goes for the collar and then to the leash, but then abandons his actions all together and goes back inside CrossFit to continue his morning regime.
            I am thinking of crossing the street to play with the dog when I hear the bus breaking. It stops a few feet behind the MARTA sign and makes me long for the dog as I take the five or six steps to reach the open doors. As I swipe my breeze pass and it starts whining again, the sound suffocated by the bus’s motor and the murmuring of a homeless man asking around for change.

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