Dear Deuce


April 6, 2022
1100 words · 5 minute read

“I left Dave there so Fargo’s not alone.”

There’s a small, enclosed entryway at my dog sitter’s house. It serves as a transactional area for dog drop-offs and pick-ups. “Fargo’s in!” “Got Fargo!” are the most common texts exchanged as I enter and exit the atrium, closing its door behind me, often experiencing emotional crescendos: either shrouded with the mists of heartbreak leaving him behind, or bask in a blaze of euphoria reuniting with him. My heart grew resilient with this daily rise-and-fall, pull-and-release exercise.

Fargo would stay there for a few minutes, waiting for a human to let him into the house or out to the wild world. That transitional time and space where nothing happens, when you are neither in or out, is eerily reminiscent of my yesteryear. When he’s away from me and I think of him, his waiting in the entryway is a lasting image.

Fargo is not a crate dog — it’s a conscious decision I made upfront, to never leave him alone, to have a human by his side at all times (it’s not really a rational decision; but I make rational decisions all the time and this is one of those idiosyncratic principles I allowed my dog mom self to have) — and the only crate-like space he’s ever been put in is that entrance area. One day the sitter couldn’t be home for a while, so before she left the house she put Dave, her own dog, an adult husky, there in the atrium to wait for Fargo’s arrival.

“Just leave Fargo in. I’ll get to him as soon as possible. I left Dave there so Fargo’s not alone.”

I often think about this.

There would sometimes be other dogs in the entryway too, especially during busy pick-up hours. Everyone there is there with the same purpose: waiting to be claimed by a human. But that time, the only time, Dave was there just to be of someone’s company.

This realization swelled within me like a traveling wave, quieting all other restless thoughts in my head. I was driving through the city for a daily Fargo pickup, and stopped midway for gas. I watched the fast rolling digits quickly piling up to be a shocking number — the gas price had recently reached record high. This is an area of the city that happens to host everything I do: my dog sitter’s house, my best friend’s house, my clinic, my piano classroom. But it’s far away from where I live, opposite sides of the town from one another. Every day I drive the same route, the largest portion of it on a street called the 14th — I don’t like numbered streets, except when they are in New York, when the intersecting streets are also numbered, so that you can talk to a taxi driver like a mathematician. I especially don’t like living on numbered streets, since the whole address would just be numbers and I like words. Oh I like words. They bear feelings. When I listen to music I am really listening to the lyrics. Although melody bears feelings too. All the things I do share the same driving route until the very end, where it splits into task-dependent heads, like in deep learning. All these meandering thoughts were dispelled, in that moment, with the one thought of Dave.

You notice a great change of character from Dave’s neighborhood to mine. Even though I had grown quite familiar with it over a short period of time, when I’m out here all I can think about is going back home. Home, my oasis of verdure perched on the edge of a mysterious hill, far from the madding crowd in the dense dryness of the technical buzz. The morning and night scenes from my balcony are electrifying. I am very content there, yet I can’t help but look out across the bay, across a desert of blusterous commonplace, to another dream place of mine that’s called your home. There, a convergence of date palms and tamarinds, plush seat covers and pearly sheets, herbal teas and European hospitality, was all I could wish for; no more, no less. A magnificent tree bursts immediately outside of your window, almost holding the house up with its mighty roots, its canopy overhanging your roof. What’s inside the window is as integral to the tree as the outside. The tree house, hence I called it, and you the tree man. I didn’t know such a place existed. I didn’t know such a someone like you existed. Like a buzzing electron finally propelled to reach escape velocity, the moment you led me into your home I flung into a brand new, sparkling universe. It’s so strange, different from anything I’ve ever seen, an embodiment of alluring sensitivity but also a plentitude of sensibility, an attractant and scare at the same time.

⋅ ⋅ ⋅

Leaving my little paradise, every day, is breaking a wall from my inner world to the outer world, the ethereal to the worldly, romance to reality. I don’t really know where I am going but wish I am at least getting closer to you, the only other paradise I know of. But no, like Fargo, I was only just put into an atrium, waiting for a destination to come to me. And luckily like Fargo, sometimes there’s Dave.

Dave, in his red cape and soft, cotton pants, plunged from the sky and descended on me like a colt being led to a happy pasture. Your water bottle dangling in my eyes, all I could see were ripples of wonder. My wish to be closer to you is as blind and intuitive as my wish to be happy.

Hi Dave. You are no Deuce or Fargo, but it’s a blessing to have you here, for life is not just paradise to paradise, but also atrium after atrium, for the earth is both celestial and terrene, the up there and the down here, and all the air in between, for happiness only appears in hindsight, in averted vision, when you shift your eyes away. For all these reasons I appreciate you, I embrace you, I give you sincerity and goodwill. I give you access to my full person.