the strangest thing happened today.
as i walked out groggily in the morning to pick up my sachet of milk from the grocer nearby, i noticed a bunch of canines feasting on a box. as i neared them, one of them – this scrawny little creature that i have on occasion had the good fortune to feed – looked at me, wagged his tail excitedly, just for a brief moment, before digging into his meal again.
“he seems to know you”, the young man, who i had presumed was feeding the animals, said.
“i have favoured him a couple of times. dogs remember, they always do”, i replied.
as i looked down, i realised, much to my surprise, that it was actually a cake the dogs were eating.
“that is an expensive diet”, i exclaimed, almost involuntarily, and added, “and probably unhealthy for the animals too”. not that they were otherwise in the pink of their health. these were, after all, quite far fetched from their home bred counter parts – who were well fed, groomed, and most importantly, fortunate enough to have ample attention. i suppose for these hungry fellows, on the contrary, anything would go – they weren’t expected to live too long anyways. they weren’t exactly wanted. so as long as they lived, they might as well rid themselves of their hunger, among all the other miseries that their wretched lives and us humans had subjected them to.
“it was for a friend. she was supposed to cut it last night and all that. just refused to turn up, and hardly spoke a word about it”, he volunteered. he was young, but looked fatigued. he had the look of a burdened man.
there was an uncomfortable silence that followed. we both watched the dogs lap up the last bits – lick the box clean of any bits of cream that remained.
“i don’t understand why people make such a big deal of birthdays – i find them bourgeois”. i hadn’t known what else to say. i am usually at a loss to say nice things to people, especially at a time of discomfort.
“i don’t either, but she wanted it, it was her idea. said she’d like a cake, and that she’d like to cut it in the middle of the night, and that i ought to sing for her”.
the early morning sun was just beginning to shine upon us. in the yellow glow, i noticed little drops of tears glistening in his eyes.
“well, you sure made their day”, i told him, pointing at the dogs, and added “it is going to be a beautiful day” as i walked away, wondering if the poor dogs were at all aware of the little chat that transpired between us. sometimes, i wonder if i’d rather have lived blissfully ignorant life, a life of instinct, something more like those hungry dogs.