dogs · family · Poetry · walking

The Longest Walk

No one wants this walk —

Dog yanking petulant teen

Back home fastest way


Teenaged girl dragging her feet along the sidewalk. Dog leading the way, not pausing to investigate marvelous scent. Both together, both hating it, so apparently sent out the back door with strict and specific instructions: take the dog for a walk.

It’s hard to check your phone when the dog keeps jerking you down the dumb, hot sidewalk. He’s probably spotted a squirrel or a cat — you’d think he’d know by now that he’ll never catch it. That’s the thing with silly old Moby. He gets an idea and he won’t let go. If I don’t get home soon, I won’t have time to get ready for Emily’s. She’s having a party and everyone is going to be there and I’m invited and I’m going — I just have to get out the door without Mom seeing me cause she’d say no.

She used to love me. We’d play every day when she got home from away and we would chase and chase and then lay on the grass all tangled and watch the clouds. Her smell is wrong. This is not the girl I know. She’s gone dark and quiet and she’s hiding — from me, from Food Lady, from herself.

She’s up to something. Mumbled answer, toss of the hair, dramatic sigh. I just asked her to walk the dog — like she’s done for as long as Moby’s been a member of our family. Was I ever that awful to my mother? Oh, dear, probably yes. But it wasn’t just me. All of us girls hated our beloved mothers. And the mothers all knew that we loved them, but needed more space. It’s part of the mother-daughter contract, right?

Damn kid. Damn all those teenagers who think that they can just flounce across the street without looking. Ridiculously short shorts. Tight shirt. Was this what we used to march for, so these girls could look like streetwalkers? At least she’s walking her dog. Maybe there’s hope for her yet.

It took them twelve minutes to round the park, cut through the church parking lot, and dash past the community garden. The pair split as soon as they burst through the back door, girl dropping leash for dog to race to his water bowl so she could sprint up the stairs, texting Emily that she’d be there as soon as she could.


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