Tuesday, May 19, 2020

There Is Always a Graffiti Maker

This is part of a story I've been writing for, yikes, way longer than it should have taken me. If you want, you can read from the beginning, or just start here.

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In Flagstaff we checked the mileage, realized Albuquerque was only four and a half hours away. That was basically less than 2 movies. That was a tiny slice of our days. We had the longest days, didn’t we?, especially waking up early, the sun shoving through the sheer curtains in the motel room, having forgotten to smush the normal curtains closed.

Not that it mattered, because Joey kept us on schedule anyway. Joey was our matron, our den mother, our sheep dog and our shepherd and our team coach all in one: landing on top of me in the morning, then bounding over to Elyse’s bed, slopping his tongue over our faces and digging his nose into our armpits and reminding us in great amounts of glorious slobbery slime that it was time for his morning walk.

I loved walking Joey. He was no higher than my waist, but strong, always with a determination and a clear direction. Later that year, in summer, once I had made it to the East Coast and moved in with an Orthodox aspiring hip-hop DJ in a warehouse deep in Hasidic Williamsburg, I would learn from rendezvouses with kids in pizza places and kosher markets that Hasidic kids, by and large, dreaded dogs. The families had so many kids that there was no money to have pets, and no space. It puzzled me so, since the only way I managed to get up in time for morning prayers was Joey. Caring for a dog was so much like being a religious Jew: this constant presence, nagging but righteously demanding, diverting your attention away from the ego and reminding you of the miracle of Creation and the demands of a higher power.

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