Fickle Love
Ann Summerville

Charlottesville was cold this time of year. The white snow of yesterday was now slush. Slush mingled with dirt and who knew what else. As dusk fell on the alley, warm foul-smelling steam came from an outlet which would ward off the night chill. Noting a case of discarded and rotten vegetables I huddled near the vent with my back against the wood.

The year had started well in a big house on the crescent but then there was the incident with grandpa’s beard. He wasn’t my real grandpa you understand. Having been newly adopted, along with new parents came a slew of extended family: A grandpa and aunts who spoke of pedigrees and breeding and looked down at me. The siblings were the worst. They wreaked havoc, leaving behind broken vases and spilled drinks. I gazed up with soulful brown eyes and emitted pitiful whimpers but punishment came swiftly with a swat on the behind.

After the beard pulling incident, I wasn’t sent back to the establishment but tossed out into the street on a cold winter night.

Behind the crate, a door opened and Pablo came out carrying a half eaten burrito throwing it in my direction. Munching on the burrito I waited. Once darkness fell on the alley it would be only minutes before my love would appear. I could picture her now with her blond hair and long eyelashes. We would stay together until dawn then like a bad nursery rhyme she would disappear to a home where she was loved.

My coat was dirty and I tried to clean it as best I could, I smoothed back black hair and waited. The night became darker with only a sliver of moon but there was no sign of my beloved. All through the night my mind went over what could have happened. Was there an accident, was she ill?

I slept briefly until the sun rose and rested an eerie orange glow on the alley. I heard barking. She was coming. I looked toward the street, waiting for a glimpse of blonde and there she was with her head held high and a necklace of diamonds. She looked briefly my way and then her leash was tugged. It was then I noticed she was not alone. Next to her was another Cocker Spaniel, a boy with red hair trimmed neatly, his nose moist and his eyes bright. I looked down again at my black and merle colored coat, dull and unkempt, I raised my paw to the space where a bright red collar had once been and sighed. I looked up and she was gone – those fickle pedigrees.

First published: February, 2009
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